In the spirit of whanaungatanga, we recently met with Ngāti Kahungunu and reaffirmed that our whakapapa and shared environmental and cultural values will help guide decision making on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. Te Rūnanga and Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation agreed with Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated that environmental, cultural and economic factors will determine our future involvement in the scheme. We are also committed to supporting Ngāti Kahungunu to ensure that the environmental and cultural baselines of the Ruataniwha scheme are of the highest standards.

Earlier this month we had Waikato-Tainui visit the office and we met with their newly-elected chair of Te Arataura, Rāhui Papa, CEO Parekawhia McLean and staff. The visit was an opportunity for both iwi to gain a greater understanding of each other and share information on some of the key initiatives currently being progressed by each of us. It was a productive hui and we look forward to working more with Waikato-Tainui and advancing our relationship.

In late October I spoke to the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust in Wellington. The focus of my speech was on the Māori economy, a subject of growing national interest and one that Iwi leaders consider critical to our ability to sustain not only our own iwi wellbeing but that of all New Zealanders. Māori business will grow and prosper even more over the next decade. It will continue to be highly adaptable, innovative and entrepreneurial. Many modern Māori businesses continue to operate according to Māori values and culture, interweaving modern business practices and technologies. Māori are an integral part of the New Zealand brand and competent, cross-cultural, transformational business leaders are, in my view, the way of the future, as New Zealand reaches into the growing global market place. It is important for us to nurture our future young Māori business leaders to grow and be successful and to ensure our national kete is filled with future leadership talent.

During the same week I visited some of our He Toki ki te Rika graduates who are now engaged in their apprenticeships. It’s promising to see them staying on the waka and on their way to becoming the next generation of Māori trade leaders. Many of them have aspirations beyond achieving their apprenticeships. They want to own their own business or gain further education. This is exactly the attitude we need to nurture to ensure Māori play a key role in the future of our nation.

The next intake for He Toki is in January 2014. If you or a whānau member is interested, call 0800 24 24 76 and ask to speak to the Centre of Māori and Pasifika Achievement.