Our research

The Mira Szászy Research Centre conducts multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research in a wide range of areas of Māori and Pacific economic development, but has a focus on the four broad sectors of fishing, forestry, eco-tourism and hauora.

Whāngaia te mauri o te moana: Fishing

New Zealand Seafood Industry Innovation Project

Identifying the determinants of growth and innovation in the seafood sector of New Zealand, with particular emphasis on its importance to Māori.

Visit the New Zealand seafood industry innovation project section

Capturing the Gain: Innovation and Market Positioning in the Seafood Industry (current)

This is a collaborative study between the New Zealand Asia Institute and the Mira Szászy Research Centre. The goal is to examine ways in which the New Zealand seafood industry can engage in higher-value activities, in terms of innovation and market positioning.

The creation of a platform that promotes innovation throughout the value chain will enable the industry to deliver and capture more value from its activities in overseas markets, particularly Asian markets. This will lead to sustainable profits for businesses in the industry.

Whāngaia te mauri o te ngahere: Forestry

Building the Business Case for Economic Resilience of Northland: a New Forest Industry (current)

Te Tai Tokerau Forestry Cluster has a vision to create new sustainable forest systems in Northland that are based on both exotic and indigenous forest species, and that deliver high-value wood products.

This project will identify new Māori based forestry systems for Northland that meet the aspirations of local Māori groups. An economic analysis to estimate likely returns over various medium and long term scenarios will also be conducted.

This research will support and underpin an investment case for the development of a new forest industry in Northland. The project has received funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund, Ministry of Primary Industries, and also the Faculty Research Development Fund, University of Auckland.

Umanga Whanaungatanga: Social Enterprise

Haere Whakamua: growing Indigenous social enterprise

Haere Whakamua is a four-year Indigenous social enterprise programme. Auckland Council and the University of Auckland Business School have signed a landmark agreement to jointly develop and deliver Haere Whakamua in collaboration with marae throughout Auckland, New Zealand. The programme aims to build the capacity of tangata whenua organisations to undertake economic development projects and forge strong partnerships with both the public and private sectors.

Haere Whakamua focuses on developing governance, financial control systems and business planning within Māori- and marae-based contexts. This integrated and holistic approach to indigenous economic development will support participant groups to unlock potential business opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Lifting Māori social and economic wellbeing is a key commitment for both Auckland Council and the University of Auckland Business School. Haere Whakamua will enhance the capacity of Māori to drive economic growth, and improve the living standards and social wellbeing of Māori.


Every Child Counts – “1,000 days to get it right for children” project

Commissioned by Every Child Counts, the Mira Szászy Research Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Research in Economics (CARE) presented an economic analysis of child poverty that culminated in the release of Te Ara Hou: The Pathway Forward. Getting it right for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Māori and Pasifika children. For more details and to access relevant reports please visit the following:


Wai #1040 Te Paparahi o te Raki inquiry

The Te Paparahi o Te Raki regional inquiry, presided over by Judge Craig Coxhead, currently comprises around 390 claims brought largely by Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine, Patuharakeke, Ngāti Rehua and Ngāti Manuhiri claimants. For details of this Inquiry:

The Mira Szászy Research Centre has completed three technical reports presented as evidence towards this claim.

  • “He Whenua Rangatira” Northern Tribal Landscape Overview (Hokianga, Whangaroa, Bay of Islands, Whāngārei, Mahurangi and Gulf Islands)
    Technical reports prepared for 200 claimant groups of Ngā Puhi, North Auckland. The purpose of the Tribal Landscape Overview is to consider patterns of occupation, right-holding and hapū/iwi relationships and interaction in these districts in the Nineteenth Century. 760pp.
  • Te Waimate Taiamai Alliance: Oral and Traditional History Report
    The objective of the project was to collect, clarify and present oral history in a technical report supported by research from written collections regarding the Te Waimate/Taiamai areas of Northland to support claims made before the Waitangi Tribunal. 511pp.
  • He Rangi Mauroa Ao te Pō: Melodies Eternally New
    Ngā Rangi-Waiata a Te Aho: Ngā Waiata o te Māramatanga - Songs of Te Aho: Songs on the Theme of Knowing.
    Te Aho Claims Alliance (TACA): Oral and Traditional History:  The objective of this project is to collect, clarify and present oral history, supported by research from written collections, regarding the Te Aho Alliance areas of Northland, some 160 tribal claimants. This will be used to support claims made before the Waitangi Tribunal Hearings, Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry.

NZAI – Business in Asia Project (current)

This study is being conducted by the New Zealand Asia Institute and the Mira Szászy Research Centre and focuses on how New Zealand businesses engage with Asia.

The study is interview-based, and covers the development of engagement with Asia, the internationalisation process and current markets, strategy within those markets, the fit of Asia within overall strategy, finance and related strategies, capability development to address Asian opportunities, and current and future challenges. The project will initially cover at least 30 leading New Zealand-based businesses, 50 small-medium enterprises known to be doing business in Asia and 25 Māori tribal group businesses.

The knowledge gained from organisations interviewed will be used to develop a best practice model. The ultimate goal of the study is to ensure that we are making the most of opportunities presented by the dynamic economic growth of many Asian countries.

Visit the New Zealand Asia Institute website

Artefacts of Encounter

This is a UK Research Council-funded project based at the University of Cambridge (UK). The project studies artefacts as primary evidence of the nature of encounters between European explorers and Polynesian islanders on more than thirty Pacific voyages from 1765 to 1840, and the immediate and long-term transformations that they engendered. A key output of the project is KIWA, a digital research network and repository for the project's findings.

Te Ataakura Project

The Te Ataakura Project supports collaborative work between Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and the Artefacts of Encounter Project Team, based at the University of Cambridge in England. The practical work of Te Ataakura involves producing and organising digital surrogates of taonga held in global collections, for inclusion in Te Rauata, a digital research network being built in accordance with Matauranga Māori principles. A virtual gateway between Te Rauata and KIWA, the digital research environment being developed within the Artefacts of Encounter project, allows knowledge to be shared between the two systems.

Taking Control: Māori responses to money management, wealth and saving

The project “Taking control: Māori responses to money management, wealth and saving” was approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee 4 April, 2018 – for three years.This research was funded by a Kia Ārohi Kia Mārama Scoping Excellence Award from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), awarded to Carla Houkamau.