The international disaster COVID19 pandemic swept across the world and resulted in Aotearoa being in an extensive lockdown period.  Historically, economic downturns have had a disproportionately negative impact on Māori compared to non-Māori, largely because of the cumulative effects of colonisation. The impacts of this will continue to show in the coming months and years, with forecasts by Treasury saying unemployment will peak nationally this year. For many whānau this poses risks impacting employment, housing, health and general wellbeing. With this strategy we hope to mitigate some of the potential risks to whānau.

Our people may be seen as vulnerable to the effects of the virus, but in light of the situation a spirit of tino rangatiratanga, resilience and adaptability has so far shone through. The crisis also brings an opportunity for the Government to recognise Iwi as regionally and nationally significant powerhouses that, thanks to their inherent values, are uniquely placed to lead a sustainable and regional economic recovery. Many of our Māori leaders worked hard at this time to collaborate and work together, determining their own responses informed by tikanga Māori to manaaki and care for their own. A strong sense of connection was established and new ways of being a community were adapted – the trade of goods grown, harvested, collected with two hands, online zānanga, zui, karakia and waiata sessions. COVID19 has changed everything. We have an opportunity to start from anew, to rebuild and create an economy that includes everyone, for the benefit of all.

It is our intention that this strategy is used, in a way, to mitigate some of the potential risks to our iwi, hapū and whānau, but also build on the things that better align with kaupapa Māori philosophies and values to uplift our communities.