A Māori Business Innovation Forum was held in Blenheim yesterday. The kaupapa was about generating more growth and development in Māori business.   

Lorraine Eade of Westpac says the forum is there to enable Māori businesses to do their thing.

“The Māori Business Innovation Forum comes under the korowai of the three mana whenua iwi here. The iwi is all post-settlement now and in terms of that we've got some ideal opportunities from start-up right through to our Māori incorporations.”

The aim of the day was to bring iwi-based businesses together to discuss development in Māori business.

Manaaki was one of those businesses. Donna Nepia from Manaaki attended the forum.

“Manaaki is the social enterprise that we created at Omaka Marae. It is a Māori inspired range of condiments. The ultimate goal of Manaaki is to create a sustainable model that one day all the profits will go back to the marae.”

One of the points of discussion was teaching business skills so that iwi can work on developing their own ventures.

The Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta was also there. Mahuta was amazed at the range of successful enterprises achieved by iwi.

“Ko tērā te tino whāinga. kia tupu tēnei āhuatanga kei waenganui i ō tātou nei whānau, i ō tātou nei rohe e pā ana ki ngā ōhanga, ngā umanga. Anā, te kite atu i ō tātou nei whānau e āhei ana ki te whakamahia i ngā mahi hei painga mō rātou anō.”

Yesterday afternoon, the first ever night market for Māori businesses called Te Pātaka o Wairau is on the cards as an opportunity for these ever growing Māori businesses to show off their wares.