UpFront Settling for sustainability

Helping Maori organisations turn Treaty settlements into sustainable enterprise is the aim of joint project launched by Westpac and the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development.
This will initially focus on Te Uri O Hau, small Northland tribe which received $15.6 million in assets after reaching settlement with the Crown over Treaty of Waitangi claim in 2002. The tribe has since developed an existing detailed plan for what to do with the proceeds based on leadership council, social services, environmental and cultural initiatives. The project will involve refining this still further and expanding the process into blueprint for other tribal settlements.
Westpac chief executive Ann Sherry said the project recognised the important place held in its customer base by Maori business and entrepreneurs. For the bank, the project is “firstly about common-sense commitment to the social and economic sustainability of our customers and the communities where we operate”.
“It is also about recognising the importance of the contribution made to New Zealand by the Maori economy as whole.”
The joint project aims to deliver to Te Uri O Hau greater financial control, efficient maximisation of resources and stronger community focus. It is expected to take about 12 months and result in development of an operating manual that can be used by other parties to settlement and by Maori enterprises.

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