EY launches specialist Maori advisory firm

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22 October 2014 - Tahi – a new Maori advisory firm with locations in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Rotorua – has been launched under EY’s global professional services umbrella. Visit us at  www.tahi.maori.nz

Led by EY partner Selwyn Hayes, Tahi (which means "one") will operate as a full member of EY, combining Maori sector experience with the scale and resources of the global firm. 

It aims to accelerate Maori success through innovative thinking, thought leadership, hard work and a deep understanding of the challenges facing Maori and iwi organisations, and the government, Hayes says. 

Tahi is a first, not just for EY but for any Big Four firm in New Zealand, says Rob McLeod, EY’s Oceanian CEO. 

"It reflects our passion for making a positive contribution to Maori and it is another manifestation of EY's long-standing dedication and commitment to the Maori sector."

Tahi is the brainchild of Hayes, who says it's a courageous step for EY. "But it seemed like the next evolutionary step for a big, tier-one firm. Tahi will be able to better draw on world-leading thinking and adapt it to our local environment, and vice versa." 

McLeod says structure and governance are the two big issues facing the Maori sector. "Traditional tribal structures must be depoliticized with robust governance arrangements set in place and the right support tools to ensure decisions are made for the benefit of all beneficiaries," he says. 

Hayes has identified three key challenges for the sector where Tahi can add value and make a difference: 

  • Tribal development by design
    Tribal economies are significant and growing but pressure is mounting on Maori organisations to distribute wealth in a way that makes a meaningful difference to the current generation, he says. "Alongside this is the debate as to whether treaty settlement monies should be used to tackle socio-economic issues. The challenge is how to design schemes to distribute this economic wealth for sustainable and holistic tribal nation building."
  • Maori-led defence against "zombie towns"
    Tribal-led development is regional development, meaning tribal economies can, and should, drive regional economies.
    "Iwi and hapu are here to stay, unlike most businesses which come and go. They are intrinsically invested in the long-term success of their regions. Central and local government, and the tribes, have a vested interest in making regional economies work," Hayes says. 
  • Time to de-clutter the sector
    There are too many organisations dealing with iwi, hapū, marae, Māori land, education and health. All focus on common, well-intended, aspirational kaupapa (primarily socio-economic 'causes') that must be addressed but do not require any real or intense competition.  
    "Smart aggregation is required to eliminate the overlaps and wastage, lower costs and improve efficiency," Hayes says.
    "Back-office shared service centres within large iwi and amongst natural tribal or regional clusters are part of the solution and should be the norm within five years."

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