World Indigenous Business Forum - Keynote Speech

  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Māori Development

Ka tangi te tītī, ka tangi te kākā, ka tangi hoki aha e tū atu nei.

E ngā manu tīkaokao ō ngā hau e whā, o ngā motu katoa puta noa i te ao, karapinepine mai rā, iwi taketake o te ao. Tena Koutou. Pai Marire.

Te Arawa waka , Te Arawa tangata nā koutou to reo hāpai mo ngai  Māori  mo to te hui nei  .Kā mi te mihi .


  • I am pleased to the World Indigenous Business Forum 2018 here in Rotorua and the first to be hosted by New Zealand persistence has paid off for Richard Jeffries.
  • The Māori proverb I referred to in my opening remarks speaks of the tītī, or Short-tailed Shearwater bird, which migrates annually to the northern hemisphere and then returns again to NZ each year. In Māori tradition, birds, or manu, were traditionally considered as messengers and on my mother’s side of Ngāti Mānu guardians and keepers of sacred knowledge.
  • The World Indigenous Business Forum connects us as iwi taketake indigenous peoples from the four corners of the world, to share our knowledge, experiences and insights and inspire the journey we continue to undertake to seek out new horizon and opportunities.
  • The kaupapa of this Forum is supporting and investing in an indigenous future –significant opportunity to share and learn from each other’s experiences across Aotearoa and with our manuwhiri from other countries.
  • It is events such as this that provide a platform for the most influential indigenous business leaders, and governments to come together to discuss indigenous business development and strengthen our global indigenous ties.
  • The world needs greater wisdom and insight to meet the challenges that affect every country such as Climate Change and the impact of global warming.
  • Here in the Pacific we are acutely aware that our Pacific whānau will be significantly affected as will several of our coastal communities in Aotearoa. We are also prone to the intergenerational impact of inequality and poverty If we do not change. That is why the conversation you are about to undertake regarding indigenous futures is so important.
  • And there is no better time in my mind, then now.
  • The mainstream business community is shifting towards a more holistic view, encompassing themes of sustainability, relationships , cultural authenticity and social outcomes – which are well aligned to an indigenous approach to business as it contributes to prosperity and wellbeing outcomes of whānau. 
  • Internationally, governments are recognising that if their indigenous people do well, the entire community benefits.
  • Our experience from New Zealand shows that the distinctiveness of the products and services offered by Māori people are enabling a competitive advantage that benefits New Zealand in so many ways economic, social, environmental and cultural.
  • Traditional knowledge, which we call mātauranga Māori, forms the basis of that distinctiveness and there is growing recognition of the value of that knowledge. 
  • In this context, the opportunities have never been greater for indigenous people and businesses
  • In New Zealand while we have achieved much there is still a long way to go to embed and secure advantage for Māori in trade policy settings and the regulatory settings that enable value capture for Māori.
  • We are proud to showcase Māori business leaders and their success at this Forum. Māori businesses are flourishing on their own terms improving wellbeing of their whānau, hapu and shareholders.
  • For example, I recently visited the Kawerau dairy group referred to last night – which involves 11 tribes coming together to build a $30m milk powder plant, using geothermal energy. Partnerships and collaborations are a predominant factor.
  • In the food and beverage space, 5 Maori wineries with common values have established the Tuku Maori winemaker’s collective, leveraging off each other collectively to take a Maori wine brand to the world. One of our mature contributors in this market- Tohu is celebrating 20 years in the market.
  • And all around you here in Rotorua, you will see many examples of cultural tourism, such as the Mitai Village which is a family business that welcomes over 65,000 tourists per annum. 

The challenge of inclusive growth

  • Despite the successes that we can see in this room and beyond, challenges remain, particularly when we look to the future, with climate change and automation requiring a change in our economies
  • Diversification of the Māori asset base is required to build resilience in the long term
  • Our working people are generally operating in lower skilled jobs, in traditional  industries, leaving them vulnerable to economic changes and shocks – with women and young people being particularly vulnerable
  • Māori performance in education requires a significant shift, to enable our young people to be able to compete in an increasingly automated, globalised and diversified economy
  • There are also challenges affecting the ability of Māori to utilise their assets according to their own values and ways of doing things
  • In terms of traditional knowledge, there isn’t yet consensus within Maoridom about how mātauranga Māori and other assets can and should be used in commercial, international settings. 
  • This makes it difficult for Māori to really make the most of the commercial opportunities that  exist
  • There are also challenges faced by businesses relating to access to capital and capability building.
  • In addition, the domestic legal and regulatory settings are not yet fit for purpose to enable the protection of indigenous intellectual property and the commercialisation advantages.
  • I know that many of these issues are also of concern to our manuwhiri, and I am pleased to see that they are points of discussion in our programme.

The Government’s Role

  • In this new conversation we are having is threefold: that of Activator, Enabler, Partner .
  • As activator, the New Government is seeking to create the conditions for a productive, sustainable economy. Focussing on regional economies and integrating Māori opportunity in growth investment through the PGF.
  • We have established the Crown Māori portfolio and are committed to intergenerational outcomes for Maori which means advancing a regulatory approach that considers Māori interests in policy approach to legislative settings in particular tax reform and natural resource settings in relation to water.
  • We are committing to a well-being budget, which is including a Māori world view as it is being developed.

Inclusive Economic Growth

  • As enable we are seeking opportunities for Maori to:
    • be engaged in all levels of decision making
    • have equitable access to employment, business and investment opportunities
    • be provided with the tools to enable a transition to high value sectors and the low carbon economy
    • Have access to good infrastructure and key services.

Wider Government support

  • As part of the Government’s response to youth unemployment, we are working on an employment strategy, and programmes like He Poutama Rangatahi, which are community led regional programmes to support young people into jobs. 
  • We are also developing a skills strategy that will inform investment into the Provincial Growth Fund, to ensure that rangatahi in the regions are able to get jobs and benefit from complementary skills training and support.
  • In addition, under He Kai Kei Aku Ringa, our Crown – Māori economic development strategy, Te Puni Kōkiri and other Government agencies work together to grow the Māori economy
  • Funding is also provided for a wide range of economic development activities
  • One particular example is Tā Koha that was funded by Te Puni Kōkiri (our Ministry of Māori Development), which is an indigenous crowdfunding platform and supportive education programme co-created by the Māori Women’s Development and PledgeMe.  As I understand it, Tā Koha will be the first ever indigenous crowdfunding platform to be launched globally.  

Trade for All

  • Trade is crucial to this country’s well-being. In New Zealand alone, more than 620,000 people rely on exports for their livelihood. In addition, our research has shown that businesses that trade in international markets are more productive, larger, invest more, and pay higher wages.
  • However, the main challenge internationally is rising protectionism which threatens the rules-based trading system and discontent with globalisation. 
  • I know that many Maori, and potentially, other indigenous peoples here today have serious questions about globalisation.  I am aware that this view is particularly held by young people
  • This should hardly come as a surprise that we have seen a global trend of young people showing dissatisfaction with our political systems, and calling on us to do things differently – why wouldn’t they when they themselves have had to adapt so rapidly to a changing world.
  • Our Pm in her recent address at the UN said the answer does not lie in protectionism, but rather through multilateralism, and collaboration.
  • That is why we are currently consulting with the people of New Zealand to develop our progressive trade agenda policy.
  • What we want to figure out, is how to set trade policy that will deliver for all New Zealanders, whoever and wherever they are.
  • Our goal is a trade policy that works alongside other government policies, to support sustainable and inclusive economic development.  To achieve more for all our people and all our businesses, while indigenous peoples assert their right to self-determination.
  • The challenge is to ensure that we can protect rights and interests but also, leverage a competitive advantage on a platform of indigeneity. 

World Indigenous Business Forum

  • And that is why events such as these are so important – because they will inform our thinking as we seek to take these steps and build a shared vision for indigenous development that we can take to the world.
  • Yesterday, I met with Government representatives and officials attending the forum from Canada, Chile and Australia [add others when confirmed], to discuss how we can collaborate and support your aspirations.
  • I wish you well as you discuss and progress the complex and varied issues and opportunities presented at this Forum and into the future.
  • It is important that we continue the conversations after this Forum – so don’t be shy to introduce yourselves.
  • I look forward to hearing the results of your kōrero.
  • Thank you. Mauri Ora.