Solar Solutions for Indigenous Māori Communities


Maui Energy is a Māori family-owned company that aims to assist indigenous Māori communities with renewable energy solutions that provide social, economic, and environmental outcomes for Māori whānau (families), Hapū (sub-tribes) and Iwi (tribes).

Majority of Māori communities are situated in rural locations therefore connectivity and reliability of power is a significant issue for those whānau (families) who are living on their papakainga (tribal housing estate). This initiative targets lower socio-economic indigenous Māori communities who are suffering energy and financial hardship. Many Māori families struggle to heat their homes adequately or afford basic energy services such as sufficient hot water. These social inequities result in Māori having disproportionality higher representation in health issues. Cold and damp housing can result in higher seasonal mortality rates and higher incidence of both cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

We see the establishment of renewable energy solar solutions for Māori communities in the proposed model as a means to address the current energy hardship issues Māori are facing. Our solar power solutions provide a more stable, reliable, and affordable source of power.

Māui Energy propose a Māori owned scalable solar model developed on Māori land that provides environmental, economic and social outcomes addressing inequities such as energy and financial hardship faced by Māori communities.

This application to Taiwan Excellence will undertake Option #1: The establishment of a solar solution with the aim of servicing up to 2 x Marae. This will allow for Maui Energy to pilot the program and demonstrate the social, environmental and commercial benefits provided by the model. Once proven successful, the model will be scaled up and run out throughout New Zealand with further potential to be presented to other indigenous communities worldwide, e.g. indigenous Taiwan.

• The solar array will be installed on a suitable land block site and will ideally be exported to the national grid.
• This system will provide free power to Marae (base load) through power generated being exported to the national grid and PPA agreements with local energy retailers.
• The proposed solar solution consists of PV of solar panels connected to grid-tied solar inverters which produce mains compatible 3-phase power for injection into the mains electricity supply.

The urgency of this project is high as we plan to install the pilot project over the summer months in preparation for next winter. As mentioned within the ‘problem’ section of this application, Māori suffer from being unable to adequately heat their homes/Marae which leads to poor health issues. This is amplified through the winter months therefore we aim to have the solar solution installed urgently.

Our proposal aims to reduce energy costs for marae which have a flow on effect to the wider community by way of establishing community solar farms for Maori land collectives in which returns are disbursed to beneficiaries. Maori land owners have the option to sell energy produced back to the grid which will be used to offset power costs for beneficiaries. For remote communities that don’t have access to the infrastructure to connect to the national grid, there is the option to disperse energy directly to the beneficiaries living in the area. This option would suit papakainga developments and other housing projects in remote areas.


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