Māori business leaders want culture link to India utilised

By Heta Gardiner

There is dissatisfaction in the Prime Minister's delegation regarding the underutilisation of the cultural links between Māori and India. This comes after a prominent figure in corporate India referenced a Māori proverb and mentioned an appreciation to the similarities of India and Māori cultures in one of his addresses.

Visiting a mosque was the first order of business for the day. But some Māori on the Prime Minister's delegation were praying for something else.

New Zealand representative Rachael Taulelei says, “It's been amazing actually this is one of the first visits I've been on that unprompted you have officials from a foreign country quoting our whakataukī.”

It was indeed a Māori proverb, "What's the most important thing in the world, its people" that was used during the address of a key corporate head from India. He also talked about the similarity and complementary cultures of Māori and India.

New Zealand representative Traci Houpapa says, “One of the key themes that is coming through all of the conversations that I'm having with Indian businessman and India industry leaders is the importance of culture and the connection between Māori and India. It's increasingly important for our government to start thinking about trade in terms of relationships with people.”

However the Prime Minister didn't jump at the idea.

“Well I think it's a benefit,” says Key.

Maybe it is time for the Prime Minister to look at alternative ways to strengthen his pitch for a FTA. Despite his positivity at the possibility of an eventual outcome, Prime Minister Modi never mentioned an FTA directly in his address.

John Key likening negotiations to another agreement.

“Frankly they're like treaty settlements. You don't want to go back to them. You've got one go and you've got to get them right.”

The Prime Minister remains optimistic at the possibility of a FTA in the future