It’s time to unlock the productivity of Māori land and business. 

Across Aotearoa, between iwi, land trusts and private ownership, Māori collectively own 5.7 million hectares of land. 

It is used to provide primary sector products and employment in agriculture, forestry, and tourism, as well for housing schemes, and for cultural and conservation purposes. With the Māori economy estimated to be worth $70 billion and on track to grow to $100 billion by 2030, land and business owners are now seeking productivity gains to get the most from their assets in a sustainable way.

“Like most businesses at the moment, Māori businesses are looking at ways to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences, and to incorporate technological advancements,” says Anthony Ririnui, Kaihautū Māori , Te Waka Whaihua - Business Banking, ASB.

He says that despite the tough economic climate, there’s a sense of optimism among Māori business owners and entrepreneurs.

“There’s a lot of opportunity out there, for instance in Progressive Procurement which Māori businesses are able to pursue,” Ririnui adds.

 Progressive procurement opportunities

Progressive Procurement is a government programme that aims to spread the benefits of the Government’s $51.5 billion spend per year on procurement of goods and services to the wider community. 

Māori businesses are able to tender for work with local and central government as part of the programme, and ASB has been assisting numerous businesses with their procurement, says Ririnui.

“There has also been a reprioritisation within the Māori economy which has included a big push towards housing,” he says. 

“Māori businesses are looking to partner in innovative ways to produce affordable and social housing for their people.”

ASB’s $500 million Accelerated Housing Fund was set up last year to help residential developers and social housing investors access loans to build affordable housing. Up to 1,000 new homes will be built over the next two years, funded by loans from ASB.

Now another $500 million of business lending has been made available for productivity-boosting investments. $5 million is also being made available by ASB to borrowers for Productivity Grants, equal to one percent of their loan, with up to $50,000 per business available to tap into.

For the tens of thousands of small, Māori owned and operated businesses, through to larger farm collectives, tourism operators, and manufacturers, it’s a chance to invest to improve the bottom line, while pursuing sustainability goals.

Guardians as well as entrepreneurs

“Māori businesses place great value on kaitiakitanga (guardianship), so sustainability is a major focus for them, which includes prioritising social responsibility too,” Ririnui says.

Renewable energy opportunities are a key focus for Māori landowners, including ASB clients Parininihi ki Waitōtara, based in Taranaki, who are exploring a range of solar projects within Taranaki, and Taupo-based Tuaropaki Trust, whose portfolio of business includes geothermal power generation. 

The business loans and Productivity Grants are also available to businesses in the burgeoning Māori start-up ecosystem. 

“We’ve seen Māori-owned and operated businesses like Straker Translations, Kiwa Digital, and Toha Foundry make inroads in the digital economy with innovative products and services too,” says Ririnui.

While it’s a difficult time in the economic cycle for many businesses, he sees it as a good time for them to take stock, look for efficiencies and embrace innovation. 

“From iwi-based farming collectives to digital economy businesses, the potential is huge. We’ve got the capital available to help them advance their business goals.” 

To find out more about ASB’s Productivity Grants, visit

ASB Bank Limited’s lending and eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, rates and fees apply. Offer is subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time.

Hero image -  Anthony Ririnui, Kaihautū Māori, Te Waka Whaihua - Business Banking, ASB.