'Golden age' for Maori businesses

Maori businesses are upbeat about the future, according to a bank survey, with 49 per cent optimistic about the next year.

The Maori Business Key Insights Report - Te Tirohanga Whanui (a broad view) - was compiled from the findings of ANZ's annual Privately Owned Business Barometer. ANZ said it showed a clear sense of "direction and healthy optimism" among Maori business owners, managers or governors.

The Maori economy is worth about $37 billion, according to ANZ.

The report was launched in Auckland.

Of the 172 Maori business survey participants, 49 per cent were optimistic about the next 12 months.

About a third were whanau-owed (family-owned), a quarter were Maori trusts and incorporations and a quarter companies, partnerships or joint ventures, with the balance in iwi or hapu (sub-tribal) entities.

Some 70 per cent of businesses surveyed were "very optimistic" about their prospects over the next three years.

"The survey strongly suggests we're returning towards a golden age for Maori businesses," said Graham Turley, ANZ's managing director Commercial & Agriculture.

A group of Maori leaders said in the report there were sound reasons for optimism.

"Many feel much of the hard work has been done in terms of settling grievances, and that (their) destiny is now in their own hands," the group said, including Federation of Maori Authorities chairman Traci Houpapa.

The group also included Te Tumu Paeroa (the new Maori trustee and independent trustee group protecting the assets of 95,000 Maori land owners), Poutama Trust (an independent charitable trust) and New Zealand Maori Tourism.

Maori were now moving from passive to more active management of resources and "becoming more assertive," the group said.