Māori Incorporations & Trusts: Intergenerational Business Relationships

100 years of BDO Gisborne – Celebrating our stories behind the numbers.


Ko te whenua ko au, Ko au te whenua – I am the land, and the land is me

For many decades, our firm has held very long-standing relationships with various Māori incorporation and trust clients. Initially our main engagement work was through annual audits and the provision of tax consultancy advice for these entities.

An opportunity to further develop this area of the business saw the firm take on board the secretarial role for some large incorporation clients which included the Whangara Incorporated Blocks and Tahora 2C1 Section 3 Incorporation. 

Whilst the firm had already established strong business connections on the East Coast, with the retirement of Sir Henare Kohere Ngata from public practice in 1990, this in turn saw the business expanding to cater for these newly acquired clients. There was also an increasing desire to create a specialised team dedicated to servicing the needs of a growing and diverse client base, hence the Māori Business Unit (MBU) was born.

The key responsibilities of the team were to provide a broad range of accounting, advisory and secretarial support services, whilst also maintaining excellent working relationships on many different levels (ie. shareholders and their wider whānau, farm management & employees, external consultants & advisers, through to governance board and committee of management members).

As the MBU evolved over the years, the future direction of the team had been guided by partner leads Graham Vette and Neville Hardy and in more recent times Chris Torrie and Kylee Potae. At various stages the team has been very fortunate to have been supported by several long-serving staff which have included George Pohatu, Juliet Tupara (nee Poi), Rebecca Swann and Kehu Beauchamp.

The kaupapa of the Māori Business Unit is about having the deepest respect for the following values that align with Tikanga Māori:

  • Tika – We will have integrity
  • Pono – We will always be truthful
  • Kawa – We will walk our talk
  • Aroha – We will respect ourselves and those around us.

It is a privilege to be so intimately involved within our clients’ business operations and a responsibility we do not take lightly. Supporting our clients to be the best they can be, and to achieve sustainable returns for future generations, is indeed the ultimate outcome.     


Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini –

My success is not mine alone, it is the success of the collective.


The view from Matariki Partnership out to the Waiapu River - Māori Business Unit (April 2014)