This preliminary scoping study investigates areas for possible improvement in the governance and management of large Māori dairy farm businesses. Building on the innovative practices of their tūpuna – including Rawiri Taiwhanga, the country’s first commercial dairy farmer – Māori are defining their own aspirations, realities and goals in the dairy farming world (Durie 1998, 2000). This report outlines these, and their accompanying challenges, as expressed by individuals and collectives currently engaged in Māori Dairy farm businesses.
The Māori way of doing business is described in this study as having a ‘Quadruple Bottom Line of Profit, People, Environment and Community’ business objectives. More specifically, ‘Māori farms often have an inverted Quadruple Bottom Line. People, Environment and their Community often come before Profit….but without Profit none of it happens.’
Māori strategic plans and business values place emphasis on relationships, responsibilities, reciprocity and respect. These are exemplars of a Māori world-view, which explicitly acknowledges particular historic and cultural contexts (Tapsell and Woods 2010).
The strategic management plans of the Māori Farming Trusts illustrate the spiral or matrix of values ‘He korunga o nga tikanga’ envisaged by Nicholson, Hēnare and Woods (2012). They prioritise the development of social capital to create competitive advantage. Such strategic plans reflect Māori vision and aspirations. These are to sustain and grow the land base; to provide leadership and guidance for the whānau; to develop capacity and resources within the Trusts and to perform better as businesses.