Māori recognised as telecommunication sector leaders

Digital Economy and Communications

An historic agreement recognising Māori interests in radio spectrum has been signed at Parliament today.

The agreement, designed in partnership with the Māori Spectrum Working Group, is an opportunity to build Māori capability in spectrum-related industries and see Māori participating more prominently in this growing sector.

“I’m excited we have reached this enduring agreement as it recognises the critical role Māori are able to bring to the telecommunications sector,” Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark said.

To carry out the commitments in this agreement, a permanent Māori Spectrum entity will be established. Further information will be made available later this year.

“Supported by funding and long-term access to spectrum, the Māori Spectrum entity will work with the Government on spectrum policy decisions whilst advocating for Māori interests in radio spectrum. This includes digital enterprise and jobs, healthcare, rural economy and connectivity, education, broadcasting, and revitalisation of te reo Māori.”

The details of the agreement signed today include an ongoing allocation of national spectrum and a role for Māori in spectrum policy making.

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson said today’s announcement was a fantastic opportunity not just for Māori but the whole of Aotearoa.

“This is a great stepping-stone for Māori and the Crown to reach an enduring agreement which recognises Māori interests in this kaupapa. I am delighted we are moving forward on this, and with an inclusive approach, to create greater opportunity for all New Zealanders,” Willie Jackson said.

“I would like to acknowledge the work and leadership of the Māori Spectrum Working Group in developing this partnership with the Crown and engaging with Māori to ensure a broad range of Māori interests were represented in discussions,” David Clark said.  

The Māori Spectrum Working Group was established by Māori in 2019 to lead this work with the Government. In 2020 a short-term allocation of spectrum for 5G services was made to Māori, which acted as a stepping-stone to reach the enduring agreement announced today.

More information about the process to develop this agreement, and the full agreement details, will be available on MBIE’s website in due course.