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. New Zealand is tiny on the world stage, especially when we consider international markets such as China and India. Every developed nation around the world is competing to enter these markets that are emerging as the new global powers of the 21st century. It is vital that New Zealand has a coordinated approach to our engagement with these nations. We also need to be unique. We need a value proportion that our larger competitors don’t have. That value proportion is Maori. Maori have so much to bring to the Nz Inc table. Worth nearly $37 billion in 2010, the Maori economy is a commercial powerhouse within the New Zealand economy. Overseas markets and international visitors to New Zealand, are increasingly receptive to the cultural distinctiveness inherent in indigenous products and services. Maori goods and service are unique. Not just the design the materials, but in the way, we do business.
Our business includes partnerships with government, private companies and overseas investors. Maori businesses and entrepreneurs are working together both domestically and internationally on major economic initiatives. Maori business nationwide was central to the official Rugby World Cup business club making up 15 percent of participating companies. As a result, iwi and Maori business leaders brokered a series of business relationships with stakeholders including international investment companies, agricultural multinationals, African leaders and global airlines.
This business work took place throughout Aotearoa but there was also a need to ensure our tribes, business, artists, and people had a place of mana on the Auckland waterfront during the biggest event this country has ever hosted. Not to do so would have been huge, wasted opportunity. Increasingly it is overseas tourists and business people that are validating just how important Maori culture is to NZ reputation internationally. Not only it is important to have an NZ Inc approach to overseas markets, but we must also take the same approach here in Auckland. Unfortunately, Maori have sometimes been considered an after-thought, or even a risk to be managed, when NZ is hosting an international event. Waka Maori and the Rugby World Cup strategy proved otherwise. Nz as a whole can achieve greater success when we utilise our Maori culture, our Maori businesses, our Maori people. I have personally witnessed how cultural connections transcend language barriers and how deep relationships can be forged based on a cultural foundation. I have seen how Maori culture opens doors in Asian markets, such as china, and paves the way for Maori business and commercial success

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