There is growing Māori interest in joining a new wave of investors in New Zealand’s fast-growing technology sector – and they’re in it for more than just the money.
It is being seen as a way to diversify investments and make portfolios more resilient, while also creating new opportunities for their people.
“There’s an alignment here, and huge opportunity – especially when tech companies come up with solutions that can help level the playing field for Māori, improve health outcomes, or create additional value for traditional Māori industries," says David Harrison, ANZ’s Head of Māori Relationships.
And Māori are increasingly aware of the opportunity, according to Harrison, who convenes ANZ’s annual Māori Investor Forum, an event designed to bring CEOs and Directors of leading Māori investment entities together to accelerate investment activity.
This year tech featured prominently on the agenda.
“With the increase in more severe weather events, a lot of our assets are prone to adverse changes in the weather,” Heta Hudson, a director of Ngāti Awa Group Holdings, told the Forum.
Ngāti Awa Group Holdings is owned by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and represents more than 20,000 Ngāti Awa members from eastern Bay of Plenty.
“We’ve got kiwifruit, forestry and dairy, but if you think about it, droughts, floods and the cyclones we’ve had recently mean all of these could be considered increasingly high risk,” he said.
“We need to build resilience into our portfolios with investments that aren’t weather-prone, and that means getting comfortable with putting more of our capital into the tech sector,” said Hudson.
Ngāti Awa Group Holdings recently invested in digital payments company BlinkPay, which allows secure instantaneous payments into accounts like Sharesies.
“As a result of the investment we have a position on the Blinkpay board,” Hudson said.
“There’s a lot of benefit to us, because it gives us practical insight into the tech sector, how the business model works, and gives us greater comfort about having our capital there.”