No more hui, 'time to do-ee' says Maori business leader at Nelson summit

Ian Taylor

Ian Taylor

The $40 billion "Maori economic engine" wasn't doing much for young people, Animation Research chief executive Ian Taylor said at a Maori economic summit in Nelson on Friday. 

"No more hui, it's time to do-ee," he told delegates to the Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka A Maui 2015 Economic Summit at the Rutherford Hotel. 

Taylor's Dunedin-based company provides digital simulations for sports events around the world, from yachting to cricket and motor racing.  The winner of many awards including 2013 Maori Business Leader of the Year, he was the closing speaker at the two-day summit and challenged the business leaders there to look at digital technologies as the way to help Maori youth. 

He said the "economic engine" comprising an estimated $40 billion in Maori-owned tourism, fisheries, agriculture, forestry and other industries was not delivering on the strategy for Maori economic development drawn up in 2012. 

"What has this engine done for our young people? As I look around, it's a bloody big engine, but it doesn't look like anyone's started it. It should be doing a hell of a lot more than it's doing right now." 

The strategy said it was essential to create wealth opportunities and demand for more highly-skilled and upwardly-mobile young Maori.

"Three years on, I don't see any sign of it," Taylor said. 

The Government's $30 million Maori ICT fund, $5m a year over six years, was not a lot of money and needed to be spent in a very focused way. 

"How do we take that $30m over six years and make it $90m? We're going to have to do it by getting iwi up off their butts, and other organisations up of their butts, and saying 'This is the starting point'. 

"The more we talk, the more we waste our time, the more of those young kids miss out on that opportunity."

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Iwi corporations had a significant role to play, and it was not enough to keep building assets on primary industries, he said.

"The future for our kids is not about hosing shit out of a cowshed, it's about flying the drones, writing the software, building the robotics that make dairy farming way more efficient, way cleverer."

Maori also needed to work with non-Maori companies or they wouldn't be able to create enough jobs. 

On the speed of change, Taylor said Thomas Edison had invented the light bulb in 1879 and it took 130 years for it to come to his childhood home in the northern Hawke's Bay town of Raupunga.

"Google Earth was launched in 2003 and in 2008 anybody  in the world could type in Raupunga and come and see the house where we got electricity in 1957."

His design team had developed cricket ball-tracking software in their Dunedin office using a piece of wood for the pitch, a jaffa for the ball and a $250,000 camera balanced on a rubbish tin, Taylor said.

He would never stop talking about New Zealand's number eight wire mentality. 

"It was never about the piece of wire, it was always what innovative farmers in New Zealand did with a piece of wire that it wasn't meant to do. It's in our DNA, we should be proud of it.  It's in our Maori DNA too." 

 - Stuff

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