Regional | Iwi

Moana NZ sets up long-term partnership to benefit Māori

Moana NZ, the largest Māori-owned fishing company in the country, says its purchase of assets from the fishing company Sanford is a great opportunity.

It's planning to take over seafood processor Sanford's annual catch entitlement for its North Island inshore quota, and will catch, process and sell the fish.

"Protect the ocean" is the value upon which Moana NZ stands, and it's expanding this further following the new long-term arrangement, chief executive Steve Tarrant says.

“First and foremost we are a commercial entity but, along with that, we also provide pathways for the next generation of young Māori coming through into the seafood industry. We also provide opportunities for Māori fishers and māori customers and māori logistics teams,” he says.

Moana NZ has created a long-term arrangement with Sanford that will increase the catching and selling of inshore species, acquiring Sanford's annual catch entitlement as well  Tarrant says Moana is thrilled this will be an opportunity that will create mahi for Māori.

Praised as good move

“How we see this as strengthening Moana is all about driving efficiencies, increasing certainty for our fishers, our Māori fishers, our kaimahi, our customers. And that then circles back to increasing return for our shareholders.”

In recent months a number of fishing businesses have closed such as Takitimu Seafoods and Kono, and hundreds of people made redundant.

However, Māori business consultant Will Workman says this is a good move for Moana NZ.

“Firstly it’s good for Tangaroa. We’ll have fewer boats out there burning diesel in the ocean and being half full. So being able to plan to be more efficient is good for our moana and for us overall.

"It’s also really good for iwi Māori business. It’s going to allow us to be more efficient to utilise our assets better and ultimately to provide better returns to iwi Māori shareholders. From my perspective, this is a fantastic deal for Moana NZ.”

Moana NZ follows Māori thinking, with custom sitting as a foundation for its operations, and Tarrant says the company has a role to play to ensure the survival of the ocean.

“We have a responsibility as kaitiaki, to continue to make sure we are providing guardianship across Tangaroa, and we see that as critical to the future of this business but also the future supply of kaimoana to our shareholders."