25 March 2024

Piki mai rā  –  Climb hither

Kake mai rā  –  Ascend hither

Homai te waiora ki a tau  –  Give unto me life giving waters

E tū tehu ana –  For the lady sleeps

Koia te moe a te kuia nei i te pō  –  in yearnful anticipation

Pō i raru ai a Wairaka  –  Like the night in which Wairaka was deceived

Papaki tū ana ngā tai ki Te Reinga  –  As the tides broke at Te Reinga

Ka pō, ka pō, ka ao, ka ao  –  The night turned to dawn, as daylight broke

Ka awatea  –  A new dawn has arrived

Nau mai, haere mai, piki mai rā  –  Welcome!

Tena tatou katoa  –  Greetings to us all

In today’s constantly evolving business environment, Māori business and the Māori economy are more intertwined into the greater New Zealand economy than you would think.  Te Ōhanga Māori 2018 report commissioned by the Reserve Bank reinforced that ‘Te Ōhanga is no longer a separate, distinct and clearly identifiable segment of the Aotearoa economy. It is a closely connected component of numerous pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that together make up the economy of Aotearoa’.[1]

Therefore, it is only a matter of time that non-Māori and Māori businesses work together for a common or mutual purpose.  The question then becomes, how to successfully engage with Māori business?

Two essential components of successful engagement with Māori business:

1. Establishing the relationship

Understand your ‘why’.

The journey to establishing a relationship with Māori businesses is to understand ‘why’ you want to engage with them.  Māori always look at both the long-term economic and social impacts when deciding whether to engage with a business.  The social impacts can also be more important to Māori than the economic outcome.

Understand your ‘when’.

To successfully engage with Māori businesses, the process should start well before you require anything from them.  The relationship takes time to develop and the more frequent your interactions with them the better.  ‘Little and often’ has proven to be successful in establishing the relationship with Māori. The relationship grows with each interaction.

 Understand your ‘how’.

To successfully engage with Māori business is to understand ‘how’ the relationship will begin.  It is helpful to have a Māori colleague to begin the initial discussions with but not a necessity.  During this process, ensure to be respectful in all interactions as ‘tokenism’ is a major barrier.  Your interactions need to be genuine, timely, relaxed, relative to their context and always focused on relationships and connections first.

Understand the ‘who’.

To successfully engage with Māori businesses, understanding ‘who’ to approach is a major barrier for most non-Māori businesses.  As with non-Māori businesses, Māori businesses can have many different layers.  These range from Māori land trusts to Māori social services, to post settlement entities, to Māori asset holding companies and to Māori government agencies.  As with non-Māori businesses, there is a leadership structure which needs to be respected and the discussions should be held with the equivalent ‘rank’ of leadership for your business.  Establishing ‘who’ you engage with takes time.  Listen to the people who guide you as they understand and know the tikanga (protocol) that is needed.

2. Fostering the relationship

Once the relationship with Māori business has been successfully established, maintaining the relationship becomes important and specifically how you do this.  The connections Māori businesses make are always with a long-term view.

 Little and Often

The notion of ‘little and often’ indicates to Māori businesses that you consider the relationship to be important, valued and long-term.  This could be as simple as meeting for a coffee every fortnight or inviting them to lunch every month.  This shows a genuine desire to maintain the relationship.  Making the deliberate time to value the relationship will come back to your business tenfold.

 Keep it alive!

Make the effort to invite the Māori businesses to any upcoming events happening within your business or community.  These invites may not always be taken but they will show that you are working to maintain that connection and relationship.  This is a sign of ‘giving back’ and another way to show you value the relationship.

“Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toira”
Let us be close together, not far apart

Talk to our experts

To learn more about how you can engage with Māori businesses, reach out our Hawkes Bay office. Nexia is one of New Zealand’s best accounting and business advisory firms with offices in ChristchurchAuckland and Hawke’s Bay.

[1] Institute of Directors – Kotahitanga – Principles of Māori Governance workbook

Find updates