Christian Hawkesby: The future is Māori

Panel remarks by Mr Christian Hawkesby, Assistant Governor and General Manager of Economics, Financial Markets, and Banking of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, to the Institute of Directors New Zealand Leadership Conference, Tāmaki Makaurau, 6 May 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
11 May 2021



Whakatakinga (introduction)

As a member of the Institute of Directors, I was delighted to see the important topic of Te Ōhanga Maori (the Maori Economy) on the agenda for this conference.

It will shape the role of directors in the years to come.

Today I want to talk about why an understanding of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) needs to be a core competency of all New Zealand directors. I'll do this in two ways:2

  • First, I want describe my own journey into Te Ao Māori. I'll highlight some of the ongoing work at Te Pūtea Matua – The Reserve Bank, and reflect on how we, as Pākeha, as Māori, as tauiwi, can improve our understanding of the Māori economy.
  • Second, I want to look beyond the Māori economy that exists today, and talk about how Te Ao Māori is shaping the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

When I reflect on my learning about Te Ao Māori to date, I'm reminded of how Māori describe our emergence into the world of light.

Ka puta te ira tangata ki te whaiao, ki te ao mārama.

The phrase can refer both the first emergence of ngā Atua (the gods) into the light of day, and also to the dissemination of knowledge, when Tāne (or Tāwhaki, according to some iwi) returned from his trip to the highest of the heavens.

It describes a progression, first ki te whaiao – to the glimmer of dawn, or a moment of recognition, and only then ki te ao mārama, into the full light of day.

I feel as though my understanding of Te Ōhanga Māori is somewhere along that progression. I've seen the glimmer, and recognised its significance, but I know I have a long way to go. It's a progression I am passionate about forging, and I'm fortunate to be working alongside many others on this path.  At Te Pūtea Matua, we are working hard to gather new information to shed light on Te Ōhanga Māori, in the hope that we'll eventually emerge ki te ao mārama.

Tihei mauri ora!

Ki te whaiao

Since joining in 2019, I've been privileged to be a part of the journey of Te Pūtea Matua to learn about and embrace Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). Early last year, I gave a speech at the Raising Māori Investment Capability Conference (Hawkesby 2020), where I described the three core elements of our Te Ao Māori Strategy (Figure 1):