The significance of this research project lies in its contribution to deeper understand what role Māori SMEs have as critical constituents of the Māori Economy. Recent years have seen attention paid to the merit of the Māori economy, based on the potential of an economy worth an estimated $42.6bn in 2013 (Nana, Khan, & Schulze, 2015).
In addition to public and scholarly deliberations regarding increased inequalities in society, this project responds to the continued socio-economic exclusion of many Māori households.
We draw on recent scholarship on the precariat as an emerging social class comprised of people experiencing unstable employment, unliveable incomes, inadequate state supports, marginalisation and stigma. Our focus is on the Māori precariat, whose rights are being eroded through punitive labour and welfare reforms.
While we document issues of employment, food, housing and cultural insecurities shaping precarious lives, we also develop a focus on household connections, practices and strengths. This focus is important because connections, practices and strengths can buffer whānau against adversity for a time, render aspects of their lives more liveable, and enable human flourishing.
Māori have a long association with the natural environment and are well-positioned to make important contributions to sustainably managing natural resources in New Zealand and the world.
Kaitiakitanga and other practices provide a powerful foundation for developing paradigms in governance, management, caring, development and benefit-sharing of land, water (freshwater and marine) and other natural resources.
E kore e ngaro nga tapuwae i nga wa o mua,
He arahina ke tatou ki te huarahi nei,
Me hangaia e tatou e tatou ano
We can never erase the footprints of our past,
They lead us to the paths of the future
We carve for ourselves.
In the 21st century, indigenous youth face an uncertain and challenging future. In the years ahead they will need to deal with a daunting range of issues, some of potentially unprecedented scale and scope.
The original research pilot for this project arose out of a desire to make the transition for many whānau relocating from their city/urban lives back home, as comfortable as possible. It was felt that this could be best achieved by facilitating access to innovative solutions for essential infrastructure technologies, which would enhance the quality of life (and death) experienced by our whānau. To this end the project identified needs related to water capture and storage, energy generation and waste management.