Te Taumata – a business network focused on better trade outcomes for Māori – says the conclusion of New Zealand’s first gender-focused trade arrangement is a significant milestone that will ultimately pave the way for greater social and economic outcomes for local communities.

Alongside the Gender Arrangement launch, Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) also renewed its workplan, which includes a focus on possible activities around indigenous trade and climate change.

The Global Trade and Gender Arrangement has been developed with Canada and Chile – all three countries are partners in ITAG. It was finalised through virtual negotiation during the Level 3 and 4 COVID lockdown.

The Arrangement is designed to increase women’s participation in trade as part of a wider programme to enhance women’s economic empowerment and support a more inclusive and sustainable trade agenda.

Te Taumata Chair, Chris Insley, says the Arrangement is a significant achievement for women, which will have positive flow-on benefits for whānau and communities.

“Through lockdown, Te Taumata pioneered an Indigenous to Indigenous Professional Exchange programme between 22 Māori and First Nations’ professionals who developed proposals for both New Zealand and Canadian Governments promoting practical trade exchange.

“More than 50% of the participants were women, reflecting a strong interest in the trade sector.

“It is extremely encouraging to see this announcement with its focus on gender and diversity, alongside the renewed work plan that includes indigenous trade and climate change,” says Mr Insley.

“It will help encourage female participation in the trade sector, while it also includes a specific focus on co-operation activities to boost rural and mana wahine. This is particularly significant given that Māori businesses account for 40% of New Zealand’s forestry production, 30% of lamb production, 10% of dairy, 30% of sheep and beef, and 10% of kiwifruit.

“Trade initiatives like this will help Māori businesses and exporters recover from the impact of COVID-19 and provide a further platform for job creation for whānau during this challenging time,” says Mr Insley.

“Minister Parker and his team should be congratulated for this ground-breaking achievement – all while locked down in New Zealand.

“We will be watching the implementation of this workplan with interest and will seek to be actively involved in these activities, which include progressing gender, indigenous and climate change discussions, including during APEC 2021.”

You can read the Beehive release here.