THE FIRST NATIONS TRADE MISSION TO NEW ZEALANDMaori Affairs
e aku rangatira, e te manuhiri tuarangi.
kei te mihi atu ki o tatau tini mate,no
tena whenua, no tena whenua. ratau ki a
ratau, a, haere, haere atu ra.
kei te mihi atu ki a tatau, otira, nga
rangatira no te tangata whenua o
canada, nau mai, haere mai, tapiri mai ki
te tangata whenua o aotearoa nei, otira,
te iwi maori.
no reira, ka ki mai o tatau tipuna, naku te
rourou, nau te rourou, ka ora ai o tatau
na, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatau
i'm very pleased to have this opportunity to host what is the first indigenous trade mission of its kind to new zealand. as indigenous people we have so much to learn and share with each other.
i know that all of you have left family and heavy work commitments half a world away to come and see what our two peoples, maori and canadian indigenous people, can achieve together through business.
so i acknoweldge your presence in aotearoa new zealand as a real expression of the good will that has been established between our peoples.
i would also like to welcome representatives of the maori exporters council who are represented here today. the exporters council is no doubt looking forward to the roundtable discussions that are planned for later in your programme.
i would like to say a few words about the importance of international trade for maori economic development and why i believe this mission represents a significant event for maori and first nations business.
last week i had the opportunity to speak to te awe, the wellington maori business network, who will be hosting you later this evening. there i mentioned some maori businesses that are turning heads with their outstanding success in international business.
a business like kaitaia fire who export chilli sauces to the usa. a business like k t footwear who export shoes to los angeles, and a business like horizon paving who have paved the way into china with their paving products.
they are some of the maori businesses who have realised the potential of trading in overseas markets. and i support that because these maori businesses, like their canadian indigenous counterparts, operate in a highly competitive global economy, with all the associated challenges and benefits. it's not easy but these businesses have shown that maori, and i am sure you, can do it as well as any.
i am also pleased to see that my ministry has worked together with tradenz on several intiatives to promote maori international business, this trade mission being one of them. some of the other intiatives include:
organising the first maori international business conference in may 1996, at which calvin helin, with his presence as keynote speaker, reinforced that canadian indigenous-maori relationship. it is good to see calvin here today leading the trade mission.
this was followed up last octobeer with the fact finding visit to canada by arama kukutai from tradenz and te taru white from the ministry of maori development.
as a direct outcome from that visit, tradenz and my ministry jointly sponsored one of your mokopuna from nisga, cory stephens. we are happy to have cory here. cory has been looking at strategies to help birng interindigenous trade a step closer. im sure this work will benefit maori and canadian indigenous people now and in years to come.
i would also like to acknowledge aboriginal busniess canada for giving direct support to this mission.
all these initiatives coupled with out desires to build business relationships with each other have directly resulted in you being here today.
so congratulations on your efforts in making this significant event possible for both maori and canadian indigenous people.
as for inter-indigenous trade, some may well ask, whats so different about it?
for a start, international co-operation between indigenous peoples is not new. maori and canadian indigenous people are just two of many indigenous peoples who have worked together in fourm such as the united nations on human rights. in my view, indigenous co-operation through business in the next logical step in moving these connections forward in a neew and exciting way.
i believe there are several key reasons why inter-indigenous trade between maori and canadian indigenous people makes sense.
in the first place, we share similar resources in the areas of indigenous-owned farming, forestry and fishing assets. with mutual experiences in these and other industries, there will be opportunities to share expertise and develop lasting and beneficial relationships.
maori and canadian indigenous people share similar cultural values and practices. the importance of the tribe, respect for the land, sea and the natural world, all help to ensure indigenous business progresses with a strong sense of mutual respect, understanding and trust.
our peoples also share similar experiences in trying to access finance to take up the business opportunites we want to pursue. your experience in venture capital is certainly one area we could learn from.
at another level, theres a real similarity in the social and economic problems that face indigenous peoples. maori like other indigenous peoples are currently more likely to be unemployed, on low incomes, or in poor health. they are also less likely to have recognised education or training qualifications.
im committed to reducing these social and economic disparities that exist between maori and other groups within new zealand society.
business is a primary medium through which indigenous peoples can achieve some sense of slef determination over their social and economic outcomes. its certainly a commitment of this new zealand coalition government to eliminate the barriers to maori business development and in this case to enhance maori opportunities in the global economy.
inter-indigenous trade offers an exciting range of opportunities for indigenous people to increase their presence in and share of the wealth generated by the global economy.
maori now have a strong presence in government and a coalition agreement that sets out a psoitive agenda for change in the area of services to maori business. with the prospect of inter-indigenous trade delivering maori and canadian indigenous people tangible business opportunities, there is now the political will to support this sort of development.
in the longer term, as the true beenfits of inter-indigenous trade are realised, i am sure that other indigenous peoples will recognise the advantages of being part of a multi-lateral indigenous trade association or perhaps even a trade agreement.
as far as i can see the new millennium looks exciting for the worlds indigenous people, with business being another feature of the common bonds we share.
as minster im only too happy now to step back and let our business people do the business and lend my support where appropriate.
finally, i just want to wish you well in the remainder of your mission. i know that you have an intensive last few days ahead of you. so good luck to you all and i look forward to the establishment of enduring relationships well into the next century.
kia ora tatau.