Maximising opportunities for Māori in export trade is the subject of a two-day Waikato-Tainui hui bringing together numerous headline speakers this week.

Just some of the keynote speakers include: Minister Nanaia Mahuta (Foreign Affairs), Rahui Papa (Lead Treaty of Waitangi Negotiator for Waikato-Tainui), Peter Crisp (NZTE CEO) and Adrian Orr (Reserve Bank Governor).

Organised by Te Taumata – a network working to deliver better trade outcomes for Māori – the hui is expected to generate robust kōrero, he whakaaro rite (fresh ideas) and strong interest; particularly given the export environment and the numerous free trade agreements being negotiated.

Te Taumata Chairman, Chris Karamea Insley, says the free event offers a platform for Aotearoa New Zealand’s trade officials, Māori businesses and sector leaders to come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Māori businesses in this current social and economic climate.

“COVID-19 has disrupted markets, supply chains and distribution channels around the world, with a flow-on impact on Māori whānau, businesses and exporters. 

“It has put pressure on all aspects of our economy, including employment. With our event we want to empower our people and provide inspiration and key connections, making trade more accessible for Māori.” 

Tuku Morgan, Chair of Te Aarataura, emphasises that the event is the first significant Māori trade focused hui in the region, as New Zealand looks to bounce out of the pandemic and focus more sharply on economic recovery.

“Māori producers can play a significant role in the economic reset and we encourage them to be part of this very important opportunity to lead the way for our people and the nation.”

Mr Insley says Māori businesses have an innate ability to adapt and innovate so it is vital Māori are included and updated on what’s happening in global and regional trade.

The Waikato-Tainui hui is the latest in a series of trade hui that Te Taumata have held throughout Aotearoa.

The purpose of the country-wide hui is to engage with hapori that would otherwise not have access to trade kōrero. To date, on average 100 whānau attend each hui, with dozens more joining online and thousands following the livestreams. 

Mr Insley says one in four whānau jobs are directly related to trade and the hui are an important tool to update people on trade opportunities for products from Māori land and farms, including from horticulture, aquaculture, forestry, mānuka honey and more. 

“We are thrilled to be able to bring this kaupapa to the forefront and provide a space for key players to kōrero together, kanohi ki te kanohi on issues, opportunities and trade strategies.”

The full-day programme includes the workshop Grow Our People Through Trade, a series of discussion panels and presentations on topics ranging from indigenous trade to agriculture, fisheries, tourism, data and statistics, and more.

The Waikato hui will be held on Wednesday 6 July and Thursday 7 July at the Hamilton East Garden Pavilion in Hamilton. See the full programme here.