Focus on opportunities for Māori industry

Press Release – Te Putea Whakatupu Trust

Global indigenous trade partnerships, transformational fisheries models and how the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will affect Mori are among subjects being put before Mori business and industry leaders next week.Focus on opportunities for Māori industry, business and economy

Global indigenous trade partnerships, transformational fisheries models and how the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will affect Māori are among subjects being put before Māori business and industry leaders next week.

Seven international speakers are being brought to Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust’s annual national conference for Māori business and industry, including keynote speaker Dr Ernesto Sirolli, a consultant on international economic development and founder of the Sirolli Institute in the United States, a social enterprise that works with civic leaders and communities.

Five speakers from Canada and one from Iceland will present fresh ideas and international perspectives on co-operation in trade and business among indigenous peoples, indigenous economic development and knowledge-based fishing models.

Twenty-six New Zealand-based presenters will also explore business and industry opportunities for Māori. The two-day programme for Ngā Whetū Hei Whai – Charting Pathways for Māori Industry Futures includes a series of industry panel discussions and workshops.

Trust chair Richard Jefferies said the fifth annual conference was an opportunity for Māori business and industry leaders to chart the exciting journey ahead for Māori economic development and the leadership of tomorrow.

It would build on previous years’ conferences which identified a shared strategic vision for key Māori industries and examined ways to support Māori economic growth through education and skills development. Trust directors – Richard Jefferies, Rikirangi Gage, John Tamihere and Rawiri Waititi – were now focused on expanding the conversation by examining new models, ideas and opportunities.

“We’re determined to continue the discussions around Māori industry futures, no matter how controversial. Some of the bold thinking being done by indigenous leaders around the world may challenge some of our traditional perceptions of how we will work in the future, but we believe it’s important to examine all of the many opportunities open to us.

“We hope these conversations, international perspectives, industry workshops and panel discussions will stimulate new ways of thinking.”

Mr Jefferies said the conference would explore ways of doing business differently, including developing indigenous partnerships with First Nations around the world.

“Indigenous communities have experiences in common no matter where they are in the world. There is potential for this shared understanding to develop into working together internationally to drive economic development based on our shared common values.”

Another important topic would be the effect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on the Māori economy. Professor Jane Kelsey, of the University of Auckland, will speak on that subject.

The spotlight will also fall on Māori involvement in the red meat sector, with Dr Tanira Kingi speaking about the changing landscape of New Zealand’s primary industries. Dr Kingi is a research leader for Scion, a primary systems and value chain optimisation group.

Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust has named Tā Mason Durie as its Te Ahorangi/Emeritus Fellow for 2015. The fellowship acknowledges outstanding Māori leadership and contribution to Māori development. The Hon Te Ururoa Flavell is the dinner speaker, and Russell Harrison is the Master of Ceremonies.

The conference will be held at Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre in Hamilton on August 31 and September 1.

Among those attending will be 45 business, management, science and agriculture degree students who each received $10,000 scholarships from the trust and its partners this year. The conference provides scholarship recipients each year with the opportunity to learn from the experiences and insights of today’s Māori economic leaders and to begin building important professional networks, Mr Jefferies said.

“On graduation, these potential leaders of the future will be well-positioned to contribute to Māori economic growth.”

Since 2011, the Trust has awarded to Māori nearly 200 business/management, fisheries and aquaculture, and agriculture scholarships of $10,000 each. During the conference, Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust will announce scholarship partnerships with Waikato and Victoria universities, and new internship programmes with the Treasury and ASB.

Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust was established in 2004 under the Māori Fisheries Act with a $20 million fund to support education, training and workforce development.


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