Māori-led organisation taking new stance in fisheries sector

April 19, 2021

Māori-led organisation taking new stance in fisheries sector

Te Arawa Fisheries has posted a $1 million increase in total revenue and is in the midst of developing new, innovative business opportunities, proving itself to be an important player in the fisheries sector.

The 2020 Te Arawa Fisheries Annual Report was shared with members at the AGM this Sunday, highlighting the organisation’s key activities in the past 12 months, as well as its refreshed business strategy and positive financial position.

While COVID-19 had an impact on Te Arawa Fisheries’ retail operation, the organisation was able to retain all its frontline staff and still delivered a net surplus of $591,000, nearly 30 per cent up on the previous year.

Te Arawa Fisheries achieved total revenue of $4.5 million in 2020, up more than 20 per cent on its 2019 revenue.

A clear focus for Te Arawa Fisheries in 2020 was operating through the pandemic, however, the organisation also used the past year to press ahead with its refreshed business strategy, developed at the end of 2019.

Chief Executive Chris Karamea Insley says the organisation is in a great position to mitigate developing risks to the industry, such as overfishing and climate change.

Mr Insley says Te Arawa Fisheries has always been an efficient and successful Māori organisation, charged with the responsible management of the Te Arawa fisheries assets.

“But it was also clear there were some significant challenges and risks confronting the global and national fisheries industry – even before the arrival of COVID-19.

“Climate change, overfishing, increasing pressure from lobby groups and changes in global demands are starting to collide in a perfect storm environment, resulting in a genuine threat to our current and future revenues.”

Mr Insley says Te Arawa Fisheries has historically had a relatively passive strategy, however the focus in the past year and moving forward is pivoting to a more active and assertive stance.

“We have managed our assets responsibly and returned benefits to our people. However, that passive strategy was dependent on the world continuing to revolve around us – and the challenges coming down the pipeline mean this is no longer going to be the case.

“We have to change in order to survive and sustain our operation and our assets.

“Even before the world went into COVID lockdown, we had done a lot of work to pivot our organisation, future-proofing it from global trends and impacts.”

That mahi is aligned with the organisation’s reimagined business strategy – Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi (The old net is cast aside and the new net goes fishing).

“It takes us from passive to active, from volume to value and introduces an integrated and systems-thinking way of operating that speaks to our four pou: Tangata, Taiao, Tikanga, Tahua,” Mr Insley says.

“In practical terms, this means identifying and developing new markets and products to move up the value chain and mitigate our operation from increasing risks.

“It’s also about working smarter, using the technology and expertise that we have at our fingertips to enhance our operations, while at the same time ensuring we are steadily decreasing our carbon emissions.”

Above all, Te Arawa Fisheries’ way forward in this new business climate is about people, Mr Insley says.

“It’s about partnering with the right people, at the right time, to secure even better outcomes for our business, our people and our whānau.”

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