In a media release, Auckland Transport (AT) has outlined their commitment to diversity (predominantly to Maori and Pacifica interests) within the delivery of infrastructure.

Release as below:

A strategic first – AT has awarded a contract to construct a carpark and access way at Makaurau Marae in Mangere to a 100 per cent Māori-owned business.

 Supplier diversity is a business process that helps businesses owned by indigenous peoples, minority ethnic groups, women and social enterprises to be engaged in supply chains.

 It aims to level the playing field – so these businesses have fairer access to customers and markets. 

This is even more important in light of Covid-19 because we know, historically, that economic shocks disproportionately impact vulnerable communities. 

 To ensure supplier diversity, AT worked with an intermediary organisation, He Waka Eke Noa – which facilitates relationships between businesses like AT and Māori and Pacific-owned businesses.

 AT also formed a strong partnership with The Southern Initiative (TSI) using its purchasing power to create employment and social enterprise opportunities.

 The Makaurau Marae work was tendered to He Waka Eke Noa businesses only, and after four businesses submitted tenders for this work, the contract was awarded to Lite Civil Limited.

 The work, which began in April 2020 after the lockdown was lifted, will deliver a safe driveway and parking facility for the marae and Kohanga Reo to benefit mana whenua and the wider community. 

 AT also worked with Auckland Council and CCOs to invest in positive environmental outcomes, like storm and wastewater improvements at the marae.

 AT chief executive, Shane Ellison, says AT is committed to supplier diversity to help create positive social and economic change for disadvantaged groups.

Work has begun to build a carpark at Makaurau Marae. Photo supplied

“It’s really important that we create job opportunities in areas of disadvantage to generate shared socio-economic prosperity for all Aucklanders.”

 “This is even more important because we know historically economic shocks like Covid-19 are more likely to disproportionately impact vulnerable communities.  Supplier diversity will be a key part of AT’s recovery response to Covid-19,” Mr Ellison says.

 “We are also committed to ensuring ethical supply of materials and using impactful businesses – such as social enterprises – to form a key part of our procurement. I’m really proud that our procurement activities can be leveraged to help provide outcomes that all Aucklanders can benefit from.”

 Lite Civil Limited foreman Busby Leaf, who hails from Te Tai Tokerau, says it’s good to be working on a project that has cultural value.

 “I’m proud to be working on a project that sees marae being upgraded, as many of our marae are in desperate need of that. It’s a good opportunity for our company to work directly for AT instead of seeing the work go to the normal big companies.”

 Lite Civil Limited director Joseph Rawiri says he is very excited to be part of this project, both for the opportunity for Lite Civil to work directly with AT, and also to provide an end product that will benefit the marae and the hau kāinga.

In a related article, the Times reported on Auckland Council submitting a list of 73 key projects to the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group in priority order. The list was remarkable in that Marae upgrades were placed ahead of the Eastern Busway project 1.