NZ Maori Entrepreneurs


Standing at the prow of the Waka

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With the huge dream of improving the lives of 10million indigenous people, Travis O’Keefe and Shay Wright of Te Whare Hukahuka are enabling indigenous leaders to grow world-class organisations and improve the wellbeing of their communities. We chat to the guys about the awesome work they’re doing, and the path they’ve taken to get to this point. Tell us about Te Whare Hukahuka and what exactly it is you do. TWH is a fast growing Maori social enterprise that is empowering Maori leaders with the skills and innovative thinking needed to run effective indigenous enterprises. This is our big contribution to the vision of improving the lives of 10million indigenous people. We are building the base in New Zealand with Maori enterprises before looking at taking it global.


Tuhono mai koutou (everyone connect)

Kia ora whanau,

There are a lot of entrepreneurs out there and I’d love to hear from you.

If you are Maori or have a business that somehow links to the culture in any way feel free to message me here in the comments box or send me a message here on facebook. We would love to hear from you and share your Mahi with the rest of the online community.

Nga mihi

The passing of Tomairangi, the sister of King Tuheitia

The Kiingitanga and Kiingi Tuheitia are mourning the loss of his older sister Kiritokia ete Tomairangi Adrianne Gail Paki who passed away peacefully this morning.

Tomairangi was a stalwart of performing arts within Tainui. She tutored Taniwharau Kapa Haka in 1981 where they won what’s now known as Te Matatini. King Tuheitia, his wife Makau Ariki, and younger brother Maharaia all performed in the only Tainui team to win a national title.

In 2016 Tomairangi was honoured by the Tainui Cultural Trust for her contribution to performing arts within the region. She received the Life Member award.

She was mentored by the likes of Ngoi Pewhairangi, Napi Waaka, Ngapo and Pimia Wehi.

Tomairangi will be taken to Te Puea Marae in Mangere today where she will lie for the night. She will then return to Waahi Pa in Huntly for the duration of her tangihanga.

He mihi aroha ki te Kingitanga me te Whanau hoki i roto i tenei wa pouri. Haere ki te taha o to tatou tipuna.

Maori bring cultural and uniqueness to business

What is a Maori business?

Many modern Maori businesses operate with Maori culture, values, and tradition, alongside modern techniques and technologies. Maori ways of practicing business are playing an important role in transforming the nature of business in New Zealand.

For example Maori (like other indigenous peoples) have long advocated for and practiced the ‘multiple bottom line’ in business. They have also demonstrated that it can work. In recent times, there has been increasing acceptance of the idea that businesses should accept responsibility and be accountable across a range of domains, and should not focus solely on financial profit. Many non-Maori businesses are also beginning to incorporate social, cultural, philanthropic, environmental, and/or other sustainability goals into their Kaupapa.

What makes a Maori business?

Maori businesses are businesses or enterprises that are:

  • owned by Maori, and/or
  • fully or substantially controlled by Maori, and/or
  • operated accordingly to Maori traditional and current values and protocols

Some Maori businesses are owner-operated and some employ people of Maori descent. Others may employ people of diverse ethnicity.

The Maori economy:

The Maori economy is defined as assets owned and income earned by Maori. It includes collectively owned trusts and incorporation’s, Maori owned businesses, and service providers. Within the Maori economy, Maori can express their collective interests and aspirations through these entities and platforms.

The Maori economy is a significant and growing contributor to the total New Zealand economy. Between 1996 and 2003, its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 123% (Te Puni Kokiri, 2007).

In 2007, Maori business was found primarily in agriculture, fisheries, and housing (together comprising 75% of the Maori economy). However, Māori businesses are diversifying, with increasing investment, ownership, and business development by Maori in the tourism and hospitality, telecommunications and energy, dairying, wine, and horticulture industries.

Maori business points of difference:

We as Maori are aware of our position as a minority population in Aotearoa (New Zealand) however Maori are huge stakeholders in the identity of the country. Some Maori businesses operate in an almost identical manner to non-Maori businesses. But there are also areas in which Maori businesses may differ in significant ways from other New Zealand businesses. These differences fall into two categories:

Maori businesses must comply with all laws that apply to New Zealand businesses generally. But in addition, there are some laws that apply only to Maori businesses. For example, the Maori Reserved Lands Act (1997), Te Ture Whenua Maori Act (1993), and the Maori Fisheries Act (2004) set rules and define structures and processes that Maori businesses based on collectively owned assets such as Maori land and fishing quotas must follow.

Maori culture and values may be woven through Maori businesses in clear and obvious ways, or in quite subtle, less visible ways. For example, some businesses are based on tribal assets or openly promote Maori language, culture, and products. Other Maori businesses may appear to operate like non-Maori businesses, but incorporate Maori values such as Manaakitanga, Whanaungatanga, and Tuhonotanga into their thinking and ways of working. Multiple objectives – social, cultural, environmental, spiritual, and economic – are often very important in business as practiced by Maori.

Leave a comment or your thoughts below.

Nga mihi koutou

How to build a business on Facebook for free

Starting out your business on Facebook:

With your own Facebook account, you can put your Facebook business page to work. Go beyond “likes” and “comments” and start getting sales! Once you have the app, a customizable tab appears on your page. You decide what products you want to sell through Facebook, and they’ll show up for all your fans to view, share and purchase. Your Facebook business page acts as another avenue to sell your products. Finally, a way to seriously monetize your social media efforts. Personalize the shopping experience with Messenger chat support on your online store and Facebook page. Customers can buy your products directly in a chat, and track their orders in real time. The set up is easy, simply launch your customized Facebook business page in just minutes by configuring everything right from your own mobile or stationary device, whether you are in the home or on the go. 

Growing your following:

This is a powerful tactic to a make a live connection with other Page admins who have a similar demographic to yours and cross-promote each other. So if you are a Taonga store with a Facebook Page, make a live connection with the Maori Clothing store in your neighborhood that draws the same clientele (you may already know the owner of the clothing store). Then talk to him or her about doing a little Facebook cross-promotion and share each others posts with your audiences every once in a while. Joint ventures also help forge these meaningful connections. Host a webinar with another company that has a similar audience. This can be a great way to become visible to their audience. Content is still king and when people share your content, your Page name travels with it. Think of new ways you can add original photos as part of your content. Maybe it’s a screenshot from a hot tip. Or maybe it’s a photo from something happening behind the scenes at your business that you ask people to caption. Or you can add an inspirational or thought-provoking quote to a photo. Just make sure you are following photo copyright laws. Notice how this photo is also branded with the name of the blog.

Sharing your great idea: Link your profile to your page, This is a very simple thing to do, yet I see so many people skipping this step. If users are searching and finding your Personal Profile on Facebook, you want to make it as easy as possible for users to find your Business Page as well. When people list where they work and it’s not properly linked to their Facebook Page, a strange “Community Page” is created with that same name and it has a suitcase icon. Then people start liking that Community Page rather than your real Facebook Page. All you need to do is to delete the Community Page from your Work and Education section in your About area (click Edit in the About section), then add in the correct Facebook Page. Another thing to do is to add your facebook link to you email signature. How many emails do you send each day? Again, this is not rocket science—just consider this tip as your gentle reminder to add a link to your Page in your email signature. Many email programs such as Gmail make it easy to customize your email signature with clickable icons.

Engaging your audience:

Creating a solid and achievable marketing plan will be key to the success of your online Facebook business. Think of innovative ways to engage your audience such as a contest for example: Running a contest can be a great way to get new likes on your Business Page. It dosnt have to cost you a lot to run a competition. Running a contest is also a great way to promote your product or service in a fun way. Running a contest with a like-gate on your contest app also gives you the ability to make sure people like your Page before they enter. And it’s a great way to get folks on your email list to come over to your Page to like you and enter your contest. Who’s the winner here? It’s you. Its always a good idea to keep your followers up to date with your activity on a “needs to know” basis. Let them know what events you have coming up and where abouts they will be. Invite your followers into the background of things as well.

Jill is unbe-weavable in the world of Raranga

Jill Flemming is a Weaver in New Zealand who has mastered the traditional art of Maori.

Jill say’s ,

I have always worked with, and been passionate about, textiles and fibre arts. I was introduced to harakeke (Phorium tenax, flax) and the traditional taonga of raranga (weaving) under the tutelage of Aroha MItchell and Karmen Thomson at the Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua, New Zealand.

The focus of my weaving is Kete Whakairo, using predominantly traditional designs and techniques with a contemporary influence. I choose to work with fine gauge harakeke as this brings another dimension to these exquisite patterns that have been passed through generations.

I am inspired by, and indebted to the tohunga mahi raranga (expert weavers) who have shared their knowledge; and to the many others who have shared their passion, expertise and so much more with me. My desire is to honour this generosity by continually striving for perfection in my weaving mahi (work), and to share the knowledge that has been passed on to me.


You can see more of Jill’s amazing work here on her facebook link. Please feel free to leave feed back and comments.


Maori Fashion Designer

As well as the WOW stage, fibre artist and designer Shona Tawhiao’s structural, intricately-woven flax creations have graced the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the catwalks of New York Fashion Week. But the weaver is looking forward to a quieter life in 2017, focusing less on the outside world and more on her craft.

Tawhiao has been at the forefront of mahi raranga (flax weaving) for many years. She was born in 1970 and grew up in a small forestry village, Kaingaroa, near Rotorua. Her grandparents raised her until she was 13, when she moved to Mount Maunganui with her mum, stepdad and younger sister. In 1994 she began learning her craft at Auckland’s Unitec, and found inspiration in all forms of Maori art.

Describing her work as “art in a sculptural and wearable form”, she uses traditional Maori weaving techniques to make modern avant garde fashion and haute couture, using the widely available native harakeke (Phormium tenax) growing everywhere in New Zealand.

Check this amazing designer out, she has amazing contemporary pieces that highlight the change of identity through the traditional and ancient identity of Maori craft.

Contacts for Shona are linked below.

Maori Art

Maori Art is the main theme of this site. Here we have made navigating online for Taonga or art works done and influenced by the Maori culture. Examples are below:

  • Ta Moko: The ancient art form of tattoo design done by the Maori people of Aotearoa New Zealand. There are many stories that encompass this treasure of art. Here is an amazing example of traditional art done in a contemporary manner.
  • weaving: There are many styles of weaving in the world however the style done by Maori is known for it’s unique patterns and weave techniques. here is a link to the history and style of Raranga.
  • clothing: on our site you will have access to the best online Maori themed clothing available from the best Maori fashion houses in the world. Check this link out to see.
  • Jewelry: Here is an artist residing in Hamilton who is renowned for her flare of fabulous.

Please feel free to leave a comment and feedback below 🙂