Time right to unlock  Māori business potential


20 August 2018

Canadian government officials and members of the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF - Canada) met with the Te Ohu Whai Ao Charitable Trust in Rotorua last weekend to progress planning for the 9th World Indigenous Business Forum in October. 

In a statement, the group said the Canadian delegation was looking to identify opportunities to work with Māori businesses.

Delegations from more than 25 countries and representatives of more than 500 Indigenous businesses, as well as many leaders from across a growing global Indigenous business economy, are expected to attend the forum on 9-11 October.

Richard Jefferies, Chairman of Te Ohu Whai Ao Trust, secured the hosting rights to the forum and is co-ordinating the event with support from a number of key partners, including Government. 

“The goal of the Forum is to develop Indigenous-to-Indigenous domestic and foreign trade business opportunities, which in New Zealand is represented by our burgeoning Māori-led business,” Richard Jefferies said. 

He believed the time was right to consider specific strategies and approaches to support and help unlock further value from the Māori economy – in the same way that the female-led business economy was inspiring specific strategies, for example.

“In terms of our indigenous economy, we believe the opportunity is more than just a financial one.  We believe business can also be a powerful enabler for positive social change,” he said.

The Te Ohu Whai Ao Trust will host a diverse range of speakers from multiple indigenous cultures, industries, rangatahi, women and government that will include:

  • Dave Archambault – Former Chairman of Standing Rock, the Sioux tribe who led the opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which gained global attention

  • Dr. Kholode Al-Obaidli – Chief Learning Officer of Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar

  • Kristal Kinsela – NSW Aboriginal Woman of The Year, 2017

  • Francis and Kaiora Tipene – Directors, Tipene Funerals (featured in TVNZ’s programme ‘The Casketeers’)


Canada’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Mario Bot, has been promoting the World Indigenous Business Forum in both Canada and New Zealand. 

“We’re looking forward to welcoming a business delegation representing the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in October as part of Canada's commitment to support and grow Indigenous economies.

“There are obvious synergies between Māori and Canadian Indigenous businesses and we want to use this Forum to optimise the economic, social and cultural benefits for all," Mario Bot said.

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