The Covid-19 pandemic has forced more Māori businesses to prioritise financial performance, according to the latest BDO Māori Business Survey.
The sector remains very much underpinned by commitment to people, culture, and the planet, said Kylee Potae, BDO New Zealand's Head of Māori Business.
Happiness and well-whānau remained the primary metric for success for largest proportion of respondents in the survey (34 per cent).
This reflected an ongoing trend for the survey, now in its second year.
However, with Covid-19 and the lockdown, financial performance has emerged as a higher priority - ranking second as a performance metric before cultural wellbeing.
"The global pandemic and fears of job losses have necessitated a big move in thinking over the last 12 months," Potae said.
There was a growing recognition that financial success was key to achieving positive cultural and social outcomes, she said.
"[When taken together] 42 per cent of respondents named employment and profit as their top priority, with cultural, social and environmental factors identified as top priorities by 38 per cent of respondents."
The difference in the feedback to this year's report was subtle but clear, Potae said.
"A focus is being put on profits, not to lift the focus above the people and planet, but to lift the line of sight on profits up for greater alignment."
This probably a good thing, she said.
"I was really pleased to see a lifting of the profit focus. Not grossly over and above the people and the planet but just to realign."
New Zealand's tall poppy mentality meant that sometimes talking about profit was viewed as a bad thing," she said.
"I think its hugely positive that these entities are maturing into that space, to say that having profits is a good thing for a long-term sustainable business."
BDO's specialist Māori Business team surveyed 91 Māori businesses across all industries and sizes throughout New Zealand to determine the priorities, opportunities and challenges within the Māori economy.
There were effectively three tiers of Māori business reflecting the broader social structure of iwi, hapū and whānau, Potae said.
Those at iwi level were the big corporates, hapū-based business included property trusts and then the largest group for small businesses tended to be whānau based.
The top three challenges for Maori businesses were cited as:
- Funding, with 45 per cent of respondents saying that they received adequate support from the Government, up 6 per cent from last year.
- People, capability and capacity, with many industries still grappling with a shortage of qualified workers.
- Access to capital, which was also linked with the funding challenge.
Māori business typically had difficulty with access to funding capital, particularly where the collective hapū ownership structures weren't well recognised or understood by traditional financial providers.
The survey did highlight some upsides and positive responses to the pandemic with many respondents reporting increased use of e-commerce and industry collaboration.
However, there was a decrease in desire to trade globally, with only 26 per cent of respondents saying they had international aspirations, down nearly 16 per cent from last year.