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Māori strengths and values


Māori values such as manaakitanga (respect and generosity), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), and whanaungatanga (relationships) have shaped Māori economic relationships for generations, and are increasingly being reflected in successful business enterprise.

Leaders in sustainability

The global financial community is increasingly turning to sustainability – the balance of people, planet and profit – as a guiding investment strategy. For Māori, it has always been this way.

 Māori are closely connected to the environment through whakapapa (genealogy). This relationship brings an obligation that natural resources are nurtured for the benefit of future generations. This is captured in the Māori concept of kaitiakitanga (which translates as guardianship). The inherent ability to think and act sustainably is a valuable attribute that Māori bring to any investment project.

Natural innovators & entrepreneurs

From earliest times, Māori have been explorers, risk-takers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and visionaries. Seven hundred years before the first arrival of Europeans, the Māori people navigated the Pacific Ocean and created their own vibrant economy.

This entrepreneurial spirit continues today. Māori entities own and manage a wealth of natural resources across several key sectors; particularly food & beverage, forestry, tourism and construction. Global consumers are attracted to the unique provenance of Māori-produced goods and services, as demonstrated by world-class operators such as Kono NZ. Beyond the traditional sectors, Māori are innovating across every area from health to hi-tech, education to eco-tourism. Medicinal cannabis company Rua Bioscience is one such example.

Authentic relationships

For Māori, business partnerships are more than just a commercial arrangement – they are underpinned by the concept of whanaungatanga (creating connectedness and relationships).

Māori seek to build mutual trust and integrity when partnering with others. The value they place on whanaungatanga stems from traditional kinship; the kind of relationship built through shared experiences and working together for a common purpose. This can result in business partnerships that are more enduring, confident and stable.

A related concept is that of maanaakitanga (which relates to the care and hospitality extended to others). This is strongly reflected in the business philosophies of Māori food and beverage producers, tourism operators, and other export sectors.

A purposeful approach

For Māori, the over-arching goal of any investment is to create sustainable prosperity and intergenerational well-being. This is why Māori-owned enterprises are usually woven into the fabric of their ancestral regions and local economies. One example is Waiū Dairy, in the regional town of Kawerau, where a collaboration of 11 Māori businesses have partnered with their Japanese shareholder, Imanaka. As a major employer and exporter, Waiū will deliver significant benefits to the region and its people.

While operating as global citizens – and being open to and adapting to other cultures and ways of doing business – Māori will always hold true to the aspirations of their people, and to their own destiny. For investors, this provides a strong platform for corporate social responsibility and long-term value creation.