Indigenous business full of possibility

Jeffrey Broughton is enjoying building his governance career. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Jeffrey Broughton is enjoying building his governance career. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
On June 30, the Institute of Directors will hold an event at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum entitled Te Huarahi Hou - the New Pathway - a livestream event from Auckland with a panel comprising Dr Jim Mather, Precious Clark, Hinerangi Raumati and Sir Rob McLeod discussing the critical elements of Maori governance and their relevance to organisations and businesses.

Business editor Sally Rae talks to a local Maori business leader.

Jeffrey Broughton sees lots of opportunities for Maori business.

It is a time of change in the Maori economy; there were more than 100,000 more Maori in the workforce today than eight years ago, and 10,000 economically significant Maori-owned businesses, Mr Broughton, a Dunedin accountant and director, said.

About 57% of the country’s Maori population was now also under 30, meaning the next generation workforce would be different.

At the Institute of Directors’ recent leadership conference, institute chief executive Kirsten Patterson said a discussion about the Maori economy provided "great food for thought" and an exciting vision for the country’s future.

"As Hillmare Schulze of Berl noted, we have to look beyond Te Tiriti settlements — they are important and worth some $2.2billion but that is just part of the story.

"The overall asset base has grown considerably and in 2018 totalled $68.7billion, and $39.1billion of that base are employers.

"These are impressive statistics.

"But even more compelling is that Te Ohanga Maori/the Maori economy is vibrant, growing and is based on values that will be close to directors’ hearts - taking the long-term intergenerational view, looking at broad outcomes and always considering economic and environmental sustainability," she said.

The asset base of the Maori economy was also diversifying beyond the primary sectors of agriculture, fishing and forestry (which makes up 34% of the total asset base) to real estate services, manufacturing, transportation, construction and others.

Mr Broughton cited a Ngai Tahu programme as being instrumental in giving him the experience, confidence and credibility to build his governance career.

A management consultant at Findex, he is a director of the Otago Rugby Football Union, deputy chairman of Sport Otago, chairman of Puketeraki Ltd (an investment company which manages the funds for Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki), director of Taramea Fragrance Ltd, and a board member of Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki.

Mr Broughton’s governance journey began just over seven years ago; his father was on the board of Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki and a position became available for a director on Puketeraki Ltd, a small investment company which managed the funds for the runaka.

Like many organisations, building capability and success was important and, with his accounting background, he was tapped on the shoulder and told he should apply for it.

Mr Broughton had always loved business and had also always wanted to get more involved with the runaka, so it was a "pretty easy decision" to use his business skills.

Ngai Tahu, as an organisation, was very good at developing its people and succession planning.

He was fortunate to have experienced two programmes.

One was a cultural leadership development programme — an "amazing experience" — to find out more about iwi, history and the culture. Growing up in Dunedin, that was not a big part of his own whanau life.

In the second programme, lasting two years, he spent the first year as an associate director on the board of Ngai Tahu Farming, which managed 100,000ha of land comprising large-scale dairy and beef farms, high country stations and forestry operations.

Farming was something completely new to him and he found his introduction to the sector very interesting. Being able to sit in a room with experienced directors was an invaluable experience, as was being able to see what happened in "commercial reality".

In the second year, he was an associate director of Ngai Tahu Holdings, which oversees the iwi’s various business units.

The programme allowed him to get a better understanding of how a large commercial business operated, he said.

He also learned a lot more about Ngai Tahu’s culture and history and made some lifelong connections.

Mr Broughton’s own observations of the key elements of Maori governance were.—

  • Long term (intergenerational view).
  • The importance of tikanga (traditional customs, practices and behaviours) and values.
  • Purpose driven — the organisation’s purpose was to improve outcomes for its stakeholders.
  • Social licence to operate (importance of looking beyond profit to gaining the trust and confidence of society. The importance of balancing people, plant and profit.)
  • Engagement with stakeholders was fundamental.
  • The importance of relationships and connecting.
  • Capability building and succession planning, including the importance of building the capability from within.

When he started his governance journey, Mr Broughton caught up with the Institute of Directors Otago-Southland branch then-manager Vivienne Seaton, who put him in touch with experienced director Tony Allison.

The pair had coffee and Mr Allison gave good advice about some steps he thought Mr Broughton needed to take.

"It’s really important to understand what your own value proposition is and then being able to further develop those skill sets so you can apply for a position," he said.

He went through the institute’s chartered directorship pathway in 2017, completing a week-long course in which participants learnt about best practice governance and heard stories from experienced directors.

Winning its emerging director award that year for Otago-Southland was also beneficial.

As well as professional development funding, the best thing was to have a mentor — in Mr Broughton’s case, Kathy Grant — for 12 months.

Catching up every six weeks, learning from her experience and benefiting from her wisdom, was invaluable.

Another key piece of advice was building networks, and local institute events were a great way of doing that, Mr Broughton said.

It was important to be involved with things you were passionate about; that also applied to his Sport Otago and Otago Rugby roles.

Both organisations also had a huge impact on the communities they worked in, he said.

Many people’s governance careers started with a school board of trustees and that was a great way to give back to the community, while also learning about governance and the difference between governance and management.

Mr Broughton was grateful to work for a supportive firm like Findex while continuing to build his governance career.

 

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