Auckland Transport commits to supplier diversity in Aotearoa

Auckland Transport (AT) is committed to driving socio-economic change through procurement by partnering with Māori and Pasifika businesses to deliver transport projects.

This morning, AT unveiled a new $800,000 upgraded entrance, driveway and carpark at Makaurau Marae in Māngere – which was completed this month by a 100 per cent Māori-owned business.

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 and after four businesses submitted tenders for this work, the contract was awarded to Lite Civil Limited.

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.

The work, which began in April 2020 after the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted, has seen 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.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says: “The He Waka Eke Noa programme established by council creates a register of Māori and Pacific businesses and puts clients in touch with them when they are issuing tenders for work.

“The programme has resulted in contracts being let to businesses on the register valued at around $42 million, more than half of them post the COVID-19 lockdown. While the tender needs to be competitive, He Waka Eke Noa has created a more level playing field. It has opened up opportunities for Māori and Pasifika businesses and helped create work for disadvantaged sectors of the community.

“With the growth of unemployment because of COVID-19, the success of the He Waka Eke Noa programme is particularly important, as is council’s budget decision to continue to invest strongly in building infrastructure.”

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

“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.”

The project was funded by the Regional Land Transport Plan under the marae and papakainga safety programme and is part of the ‘Better outcomes for and with Māori’ initiative in Auckland Transport’s (AT) Statement of Intent 2018-19 to 2020-21.

Lite Civil directors Joseph (Jay) Rawiri and business partner Komene Admore with Auckland Transport board chair Adrienne Young-Cooper
Photo: Lite Civil directors Joseph (Jay) Rawiri and business partner Komene Admore with Auckland Transport board chair Adrienne Young-Cooper, centre, at the unveiling of the completed project.

The Lite Civil Ltd. team at the unveiling of their project.
Photo: The Lite Civil Ltd. team at the unveiling of their project.

Makaurau Marae’s new carpark.
Photo: Makaurau Marae’s new carpark.