Mason, Andrew

Applying optimisation and analytics to help find missing Māori shareholders.

Andrew J. Mason, Sam Gilmour, Andy Philpott, and Jon Symons

Department of Engineering Science, University of Auckland

For historical reasons, Māori assets such as land or companies are often owned by a large number of individuals. Parininihi ki Waitotara Incorporated (PKW) is one such organisation that was formed in the 1970’s to take ownership of a number of Māori land blocks in Taranaki. PKW has over 5000 so-called ‘missing’ shareholders who are owed almost $4.5 million in unpaid dividends. PKW face a significant challenge in trying to trace these shareholders, a challenge that keeps increasing as shareholders pass away and are succeeded by family members. We are developing analytics software systems to help PKW locate these missing shareholders. These systems need to solve a number of analytics problems ranging from optical character recognition of historical Māori Land Court documents through to the probabilistic optimised matching of a network of people and associated relationships. This presentation discusses these problems in more detail, presents the algorithms we are developing, and discusses our results to date.