Connecting Māori business to indigenous people worldwide

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

More than 500 indigenous businesses from over 25 countries will attend the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF) next month.  An official welcome was held for the delegation by the Māori Indigenous Business Development Trust, who are hosting the forum.

Chairman of the Māori Indigenous Business Development Trust, Richard Jefferies (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūkorehe) says, “Obviously want to showcase what we're doing here, but we also want to hear about the amazing things that they're doing offshore and start a conversation so that maybe at some point we can find opportunities that we can do stuff together."

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures estimate Māori enterprise is worth nearly $40bil. 

“They know that Māori are still strong in their language and culture, so I think they see that as quite different that Māori able to do business, while protecting the integrity of their language and culture, and their values and environment,” says Jefferies.

Rotorua will host the WIBF which has been previously held in Canada, Namibia and Guatemala.

One of the main drives at the conference will be encouraging youth for their input.

“That's the other part is that they'll bring that innovation and kind of spirit probably a bit more quickly and adapting to the technology that are actually going to make a difference to grow Māori businesses,” says Hinemaua Rikirangi (Ngāti Ranginui), who is Director for Economic Development & Māori Strategy, Policy and Partnerships at Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The WIBF will be held in Rotorua from the 8th-12th October