Māori Business Survey Report Preview

16 September 2020

At BDO, we believe in backing New Zealand businesses, with an unparalleled dedication in serving and understanding the Māori business community. Post-Iwi settlement, the Māori business sector is transforming in meaningful ways, understanding the scale and speed of these changes will be vital to meet the sector’s financial demands moving forward.

Last year, BDO introduced the Māori Business Survey to hear first-hand from business leaders in the sector and learn about their experiences. Now in its second year, the Māori Business Survey is providing valuable insight into how the sector has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, illuminating important shifts in business sentiment and priorities during one of the most seismic economic events of the past century.

The results are largely in line with expectations, but have also been both fascinating and greatly encouraging. The Māori business sector continues to demonstrate compassion, ethics, curiosity, and a willingness to serve their whānau and communities.

BDO New Zealand will be releasing a report on the full results of the survey later this year, complete with valuable insights into the sector. Here’s what to expect.

Snapshot: Māori Business in 2020

The 2020 BDO Māori Business Survey heard back from 91 business leaders throughout New Zealand. Respondents included business owners, directors, general managers, CEOs, and other high-ranking figures. Over half of the businesses surveyed employed less than five people, while less than 8% of respondents employed more than 50. We heard from businesses in 15 of New Zealand’s regions but the largest response came from Taranaki, which accounted for over a quarter of all respondents.

Significantly more respondents represented businesses in the community services and development sector, hinting at some of the more prevalent themes to emerge from the survey. The health, agribusiness, professional services, retail, and trades and services sectors also featured prominently among the businesses surveyed. Most respondents claimed at least one Iwi or Hapū affiliation.

What was covered in the survey?

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

Main Takeaways from the 2020 Māori Business Survey

The results of the BDO Māori Business Survey yielded fascinating insights. Though the survey had originally been established to gauge more gradual shifts in business attitudes, it instead has proven a measuring stick for the severity of the impact COVID-19 has had on the sector.

Cultural, social, & environmental outcomes

The Māori business sector has historically distinguished itself with its outsized dedication to cultural, social, and environmental outcomes. That so many responding businesses operate in the community services and development sector should come as no surprise. In 2019, the sector valued happy and well-whānau over financial performance, but that changed in 2020.

With the economic strain of the COVID-19 lockdown, more Māori businesses pointed to financial performance as their highest priority. With money much tighter in New Zealand communities, Māori businesses—in their efforts to tend to the social needs of their communities—have become more likely to the choices and opportunities created by their business’s financial outcomes.

These results speak to a theme that turned up over and over again throughout the 2020 survey; the Māori sector continues to measure itself by much more than financial success. Our report on the survey will expand on the many ways Māori business leaders direct their resources to social, cultural, and environmental outcomes. The report will also explain how and why COVID-19 has pressured a sector that values stability and sustainable business practices over rapid growth to adopt more impact reporting and risk registers, which will help businesses better prepare for future economic disruptions.

BDO: Leaders in NZ Business Insights

BDO’s industry-leading accounting services are informed by a comprehensive understanding of—and experience with—the New Zealand business landscape. The Māori Business Report will be the latest in our leadership efforts on this front, as we continue to play a key role in New Zealand’s financial future.

Download a copy of the Māori Business Survey Report.