'A lot of us won’t have mahi to go back to' - COVID-19 impact on Māori economy

By Jessica Tyson

The Māori economy is estimated to be worth over $50bil. Māori own 50 percent of the national fishing quota, 40 percent of national forestry and 10 percent of NZ kiwifruit farms. 

Tourism, housing, geothermal and digital are also growth areas. But since COVID-19 has put the brakes on many businesses, concerns are rising about the effect the outbreak could have on the Māori economy.

Tapatahi spoke to Taurua Grant, a financial commentator and chief executive of Ngāti Whakaue Assets Trust in Rotorua. He explains how COVID-19 could impact the Māori economy.

Grant says the outbreak will have a really big impact on the Māori economy and it’ll be a "long and slow recovery" once people come out of isolation.

“So I think it’s around trying to manage our expectations around what this is going to look like once the lockdown restricting comes.”

He says things won't go back to normal.

“We’re not coming out of the four week, ka hoki atu ki te mahi. A lot of us won’t have the mahi to go back to. The recovery will be long and slow. Unfortunately, we’re big in the primary sector and those are the jobs that will take a long time to come back online.”