Currently, the Māori economy is estimated to be worth more than $50 billion, with the top 10 Māori businesses collectively controlling land and resources worth over $5 billion.

The growth of the Māori economy has seen a rise in the number of groups actively seeking to engage with, or enter into commercial ventures with, Māori businesses.

Forming a successful and enduring commercial relationship with a Māori business requires an appropriate investment in both time and resources. Groups who fail to make this investment run a very real risk of not putting their best foot forward and losing potentially valuable business opportunities.

Despite this, it is one of the most common mistakes that groups make, in our experience. Indeed, it is still not uncommon for groups to make an approach to Māori for the first time once they have settled Treaty of Waitangi historical claims saying in effect… “Have we got a deal for you!”.

Such an approach, as you would expect, sends the wrong message. Generally it is not received well by Māori, and ends with the group being shown the front door!

Successful collaboration, on the other hand, requires doing your homework. This includes devoting time and resources to undertake due diligence on the Māori business, its key people, its core values and objects, and use of protocols.

Importantly, doing your homework sends out the right message… and speaks volumes.