Māori Business Sector Report

Helping Māori businesses navigate leading issues

Kaha Ake Tātou Kotahi | Stronger Together - our fifth edition of BDO Pūrongo Pakihi Māori, the BDO Māori Business Sector Report, shares insights from over 160 Māori business leaders surveyed across Aotearoa. View our report below for key findings & practical business tips. 

Through this report, our aim is to contribute to understanding of the Māori business sector and provide a voice from an audience that is not often researched, yet occupies a unique place in New Zealand’s business life. 

Most importantly, however, our goal is to share practical business tips to support Māori business leaders in navigating their current and most pressing ārai – barriers. Our 2023 Report summarises tips under five key themes highlighted by Māori business leaders:

  1. Business focus & financing
  2. Collaborating & partnering
  3. ESG & sustainability
  4. Employment, training & resource
  5. Wellbeing & cultural identity 

View our video insights

What really stands out is that the majority (79%) of Māori business leaders are focused on planning for the near future (next 1-5 years)” 

This short-term focus is in contrast to what is perhaps a natural tendency for Māori business leaders to focus on intergenerational horizons – as highlighted in our previous reports. The change in focus is likely an impact of present economic challenges, along with disruption from recent flood events, which are driving Māori businesses, like many others, to give priority attention to their current business performance and short-term commercial objectives. Supporting this, 52% of respondents have placed more importance on financial performance over the past year.”

– Angela Edwards, BDO Māori Business Sector Leader

A brighter future for Māori business in Aotearoa 

In 2022 we showcased overall trends in the Māori business sector, as well as bringing in data from our BDO Wellbeing & Business Performance Index - BDO Te Rangahau o Ngā Hauora Pai – which has shown that, despite the difficult economic conditions all businesses in Aotearoa face currently, there is a real sense of optimism among Māori businesses.  


This can, in part, be put down to the growing value placed in te ao Māori across all parts of Aotearoa, and our case study highlights this revival, showing how the highly successful app Rongo supports people in their te reo journeys. 

Rongo: Bringing back te reo Māori to the tip of the tongue

Charting a new course

Whāia te mātauranga kia mārama – Seek knowledge to gain understanding

Overcoming adversity through resilience

Māori have a history of navigation and overcoming adversity through resilience. As Māori business operators chart their way through Covid-19 we are beginning to see areas of focus shift slightly, balancing the importance of pūtea (profit) alongside traditional focus areas of tāngata (people) and te Taiao (the natural environment).

The 2021 survey confirmed the ongoing impact of COVID-19. But Māori businesses have also come through the year finding new ways to adapt and rise to the challenges they face.

Māori business have always defined success in their own terms, creating value for whānau and community. They continue to plan and are confident in this but acknowledge opportunities for greater gains through more formal training and support.

Māori businesses must meet financial and performance benchmarks like any other. They often do this in their own way, often seeking their own solutions. The pressures of the last year have sharpened this process. Our survey shows Māori businesses remain confident in assessing a changing environment and setting their sights on growth.

BDO are proud and delighted and to be part of the Māori business sector through the advisory services we provide all over Aotearoa New Zealand. I want to thank the Māori business operators who generously contributed their time to this survey. We trust its findings are valuable for the sector and all those committed to advancing its success.


Discover more about the opportunities and challenges faced by Māori businesses - particularly in light of COVID-19.

Businesses across New Zealand and the world have been impacted enormously recently. In 'normal' times, owning and operating a business within the Māori community is different to any other industry in New Zealand as they must consider very thoughtfully the impact not just on themselves but their wider community. How have Māori businesses responded during this time? 

For the second year running BDO ran a survey that focused on the opportunities and challenges, culture and people, environment, and support within Māori Business and how these have been impacted by COVID-19.

The Māori Business Survey covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • Purpose, values, and goals
  • How businesses measure success
  • How they have been impacted by COVID-19
  • The extent and function of government support
  • Attitudes towards diversity, sustainability, collaboration, and risk management, among others



Māori business Survey Report Podcast

Kylee Potae, Head of the BDO Māori business Sector, and Robett Hollis, a relentlessly driven Entrepreneur, FORTUNE 100 Content Consultant, Global Speaker & Author, recorded a podcast and had an enlightening, interesting, light-hearted and fun conversation about the report and Māori businesses in New Zealand. 

In 2019, BDO undertook a comprehensive Māori Business survey with just over 100 Māori businesses taking part. We asked them about the opportunities, challenges and priorities within the sector. 
The results were analysed by BDO's Māori Business specialists and are available to download below.


Further wellbeing support

BDO Wellbeing & Business Performance Index – BDO Te Rangahau o ngā hauora pai.
Our bi-annual report explores the relationship between business performance and wellbeing in businesses leaders across New Zealand, including Māori business leaders. See our latest findings and read the report here.

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