Kaupapa Māori retail set to 'win-big' over Christmas period

By Raniera Harrison

Kaupapa Māori businesses in the retail sector are set to win big as Christmas shopping ramps-up nationwide. 

This comes as New Zealanders are once again on track to trump national spending averages over December.

It only takes four days for Kawakawa-based clothing brand Tūkau Legacy to sell out completely before a restock is needed.

"Kaupapa and the knowledge and values that sits behind what you do is really fundamental in what you do- that's the message that connects with people and connects with te ao Māori" says Season-Mary Downs, founder and owner of Tūkau Legacy.

Much can be said about the many Māori businesses following that path nationwide.

One Māori regional economist says the capacity for Māori to be self-determining is a part of business.

"We're not going to wait here for someone else to provide capacity for Māori business success.  We have the means to be able to be self-sufficient in this sector" says George Riley, General Manager of Māori Economic Development at Northland Inc.

Retail NZ estimates New Zealanders will spend a total of $17.4bil from November through December across all retail categories, up around 5 percent from last year.

Tūkau says that forecast reflects what they are seeing.

"For us internally, we've had to do the biggest order yet to date which has put our print company under a lot of pressure as we try to get our product out because you have to have it out a long time before Christmas" says Downs.

The highest spend overall for December last year was in the Northland and Auckland regions, recorded at $2.4bil.

Downs says there is a growing contingent of kaupapa Māori businesses active nationwide.

"Your dollar, and your order really does make a difference for those people who are trying really hard to bring you and to bring our area local products" she says.

Official records for this year's annual Christmas spending nationwide will be calculated until December 27.