Celebrating the growth of Māori-owned technology businesses

This year marks a significant milestone for Māori-owned technology enterprises, according to the 2024 Toi Hangarau report, on Māori-owned tech businesses.

The report presents 85 tech companies employing 1,300 full-time equivalent staff. The top 12 earners have generated revenues of $160.5 million.

Robyn Kamira, CEO of Pāua Interface and founder of the report, says in a statement that while these companies are increasing their economic footprint, the low Māori participation in the tech sector overall needs to be elevated from an ‘issue’ to a ‘risk’.

An estimated 4.8% of the country’s technology workforce is Māori. “Given that the Māori population is around 17%, we might expect a similar proportion in the tech sector,” she says.

Kamira notes in comparison, the 24 surveyed “deep dive” enterprises in Toi Hangarau boast an impressive 24% of their Māori workforce are in technical roles (developers, architects, cyber security, IT project managers), up from 22% last year—and over five times higher than the national figure.

Tech Users Association of New Zealand CEO, Craig Young, says that highlighting the need for skills is one to take very seriously.

“Toi Hangarau is an incredibly important taonga for spotlighting Māori tech engagement and for the overall sector in Aotearoa…”

“Toi Hangarau is an incredibly important taonga for spotlighting Māori tech engagement and for the overall sector in Aotearoa. Understanding and supporting organisations like those included in the report will help us build a vibrant, diverse, and uniquely New Zealand technology sector.”

The publishers say the report is designed to enhance the prosperity and economic impact of Māori-owned tech businesses and aims to increase the visibility and success of the enterprises by sharing data and insights.

“These insights empower the enterprises and their supporters to achieve their goals and contribute to New Zealand’s thriving technological and business landscape and economy.”

Elle Archer, executive chair Te Ao Matihiko, says it’s clear these businesses are not only expanding their economic reach but also paving the way for greater Māori participation in the tech sector.

“The report underscores the crucial role of these enterprises in driving innovation, economic prosperity, and inter-generational ownership within Aotearoa, New Zealand.”

Graeme Muller, chief executive of industry body NZTech  says this “important annual study of the rapidly growing Māori tech sector is further evidence of both the energy and the opportunity. It is one of the fastest-growing parts of the tech sector and is creating tech that is good for the future of Aotearoa and good for the world”.

Robyn Kamira

The statement says Toi Hangarau companies have set ambitious goals to generate economic value, and their contributions “are pivotal in fostering a prosperous New Zealand. They continue to evolve positively, making solid contributions to the nation’s economic well-being”.

While the number and revenues of Māori technology businesses are growing, the report identifies a need for accelerated growth. It highlights areas where these enterprises excel, potential growth opportunities, and how they are building their Māori tech workforces.

Marissa Brindley, Head of Tech & Innovation at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, says as a supporter of Māori-owned tech enterprises, “Toi Hangarau empowers Tātaki Auckland Unlimited to identify strategic areas where our influence can help drive sustainable economic growth and foster innovation, enriching our communities”.

“The focus of many companies is both commercial and non-commercial, with an emphasis on economic impact and inter-generational benefits…”

The focus of many companies is both commercial and non-commercial, with an emphasis on economic impact and inter-generational benefits.

The report explores the rapid technological advancements that Toi Hangarau enterprises face, particularly in Gen AI and offers predictions, trends, and strategic guidelines to help navigate these advancements.

Key findings:

  • There are 85 Toi Hangarau enterprises in 2024, up from 72 in 2023.
  • The oldest enterprise boasts 51 years of operation.
  • Collectively, these enterprises represent 909 years of business experience and employ 1,300 FTE staff and contractors.
  • The trend towards global markets is evident, with 35% of enterprises participating internationally, including 42% of the 12 highest-earning enterprises with revenues over $5 million.
  • The combined estimated revenues of these 12 heavyweight enterprises earning over $5 million revenues, is $160.5 million, up from last year’s $120.4 million.

Click here to read the report

Maunga and Moana sponsors/funders:

  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Te Matarau
  • Te Hapori Matihiko
  • Callaghan Innovation
  • Tātaki Auckland Unlimited and The Southern Initiative
  • Ngāti Tamatērā PSGE
  • Te Ao Matihiko
  • Ara Ake, Future Energy Development
  • InternetNZ

 

Image courtesy of Pāua Interface.

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