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How Is Maori Business Different?

Posted by on in Ka Pao
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Taupo Moana Group (TMG) is a Maori investment company providing investment services to Maori organisations, institutions, hapu, iwi, and whanau throughout Aotearoa. At www.taupomoana.com/about/maori_business.htm I found a most helpful synopsis of Maori Business:

Maori business is identifiably different to mainstream Pakeha business. Culturally, Maori have different inherent values and responsibilities which influence the way we live and ultimately conduct business.

Firstly we must understand what we mean by a Maori business. We interpret a Maori business to be a Maori-owned entity with multiple or collective ownership. A key point of difference is that the beneficial owners in a Maori business are there by inheritance or whakapapa and their equity interest or shares also denote their ‘tangata whenua’ status and turangawaewae of the beneficiary.

Essentially the fundamental principles within Maori culture that are imbued in Maori business are:

  • A collective focus as opposed to an individual focus
  • People motivation over profit motivation
  • Holistic or inclusive philosophy as opposed one that is segregated or exclusive

Thus, in business the responsibilities of Maori are to:

  • Protect the ‘taonga tuku iho’ for future generations
  • Incorporate (or at least not compromise) tribal and hapu tikanga and other cultural values
  • Assume some responsibility for socio-economic and cultural well-being of the beneficiaries

Underlying these is the obligation to achieve optimal and sustainable asset growth and financial returns for the beneficial owners.

What makes Maori businesses extra challenging is the fact that the governing bodies are generally appointed by a political popular vote process, as opposed to a skills or experience-based selection.

To add to the mix a Maori-owned business is required to comply with the many governing legislations such as Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, Trustees Act, Companies Act, RMA and so on. The compliance requirement is not uncommon but in many cases, due to the relative infancy of the legislation, particularly those parts that have resulted from Treaty of Waitangi ratification, the clarity of Maori rights and obligations are not that clear.

The Maori business may also have a host of unique responsibilities specific to the Maori cultural and social value base which influence the way in which business is conducted, the level of expenditure and the way in which benefits are realised.
For example:

Marae grants
Support for koroua, kuia
Cultural development
Tangihanga assistance
Wahi tapu protection
Finding owners
Unclaimed dividends
Share disparity
Determining titles
Tracking genealogical ownership rights
Political & Social
Treaty principles
Land claims
Hapu/whanau disputes

In summary a Maori business faces a myriad of responsibilities, and many of these responsibilities are related to our cultural heritage. The way in which a Maori business is conducted is underpinned by Maori cultural and social values and we are finding that Maori business ethics or protocols are starting to develop (Not too dissimilar to the Japanese business culture).

GhostWhoWalks regularly quotes the old jungle saying, "No man can refuse the voice of the Phantom"

Comments (1)

  • I really like how this is in common language, and I'm also surprised that I've never come across these *obvious* fundamentals before... so simple when it's laid out like this :)

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