Opportunities in the fast-growing Māori economy have led to a growing number of successful joint ventures with Māori businesses.

Like all business relationships however, there are traps to be avoided…

In a recent example an investor was considering an opportunity to invest in a wine production project with a Māori land-owning Trust.  The Investor had the capital and expertise, the Māori land Trust access to suitable grape-growing land and labour.

However the relationship soon turned sour as the investor was interested in quick returns, while the Māori business was interested in building a lasting relationship.

In this article we provide 5 crucial tips for avoiding those traps and successfully connecting with Māori business.

Tip 1: Do serious homework

Doing homework or due diligence prior to connecting with Māori business is crucial.  Understand the drivers of the Māori Business. Some may have a focus or emphasis on profits, while others may have social objectives as the main emphasis.

Tip 2: Don’t generalise

Not all businesses are the same. This is also true of Māori businesses.  There are different tribes (Iwi) or sub-tribes (hapu). 

Don’t assume Te reo or tikanga.  Find out about who you are talking to and what their expectations are.

Tip 3: Pre-meeting preparation

Things to consider pre-meeting include:

  • Is there anything special you need to do before a meeting?
  • Is it on a Marae?
  • Will protocols need to be observed?
  • If so, how will you or your business properly deal with that?

Tip 4: Know when to get help

A significant part of being successful is knowing your limitations and when to get help …and doing so before it’s too late.

If you want to make a significant positive impression on a Māori business don’t be afraid to get some professional help.

Tip 5: Invest time to build strong relationships

 Business is about relationships and building good ones.

 Many successful Māori businesses are responsible to wider groups, and are looking at longer term opportunities. This can be generational i.e. 30-50 years plus.

Good lines of communication are essential.  This includes identifying the key people and getting involved with the local Māori community in fully appropriate ways.