Minister fosters stronger business and cultural links between Māori and Malaysia

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
Economic Development Maori Development

Māori Development Minister and Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell will leave tomorrow for a business and cultural mission to Malaysia with a focus on the food and beverage sector.  

“We know that Malaysia is a proven market opportunity with plenty of un-tapped scope to explore for Māori businesses. Malaysia is one of our top 10 trading partners and the second biggest in the ASEAN region. 

“The bulk of Malaysia’s imports are food ingredients with our top exports to Malaysia in food and beverage including milk, beef, sheep and goat meat, kiwifruit, apples, malt extract and butter,” says Mr Flavell. 

Market forecasts expect total food and beverage sales in Malaysia to grow to around US $21.17 billion in the next three years. 

“We have a close relationship with Malaysia including strong ties in trade, security and education, and we want to build on our strengths in areas like food and beverage which offers huge potential for added value consumer branded products.”

“There’s been some really good progress, but we want to take advantage of the buoyant economy to make some permanent gains for Māori.  Positioning and profiling Māori food and beverage brands and product ranges in the Malaysian market is one of the key outcomes we’re trying to achieve during this visit.

“We know supporting our people to develop strong export relationships is vital for Aotearoa and our aim is to make Māori businesses internationally successful.”

Joining the Minister on the business and cultural mission to Malaysia are

seven business leaders from the food and beverage, dairy, seafood and tourism sectors. The group will connect with government and business leaders in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Singapore.

“They are important business leaders in the Māori economy which has a blueprint to be a productive, innovative, export-oriented and internationally connected powerhouse.

“This blueprint is called He kai kei aku ringa, the Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership – and is a metaphor for the self-determination of Māori which literally means ‘growing food by our own hands’.”

The visit will also include a cultural exchange between Māori and the indigenous Sabah people in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

“As indigenous people to the Asia-Pacific region we share ancient links and values. Our visit presents an opportunity for us to foster Māori-Malaysian business and cultural connections, by initiating new links that put relationships first, before getting down to business.”

During the visit the Minister and delegation will have the opportunity to pay their respects to the fallen New Zealand service personnel buried at Cheras Cemetery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Kranji Cemetery in Singapore.

Mr Flavell will attend the inauguration of President-elect of Timor Leste, Francisco Guterres on behalf of the Government and returns to New Zealand on Sunday, 21 May.