The changing geopolitical landscape and what it means for Māori

The changing geopolitical landscape and what it means for Māori

Changes are afoot across the world that will likely linger for years, if not generations, Te Taumata Chairman Chris Karamea Insley told government officials and Ministers Willie Jackson and Kelvin Davis today.

COVID-19 has shaken our nation, our whānau and certainly all of our global trade connections across the world.

The impacts of the Russia Ukraine war are being felt around the world, manifesting for our New Zealand Māori whānau in increased cost of living, energy and fuel costs, investment and much more. These impacts too will likely linger for years to come.

Climate change continues to disproportionately impact our whānau, as evidenced by the one-in-100-year flood hitting whānau in Te Tairawhiti. The latest IPCC Report tells us that the window to respond to this looming disaster is closing rapidly and low income whānau and communities will bear the brunt of the impacts.

Finally, shifting geopolitics are being watched carefully with the likely emergence of authoritarianism and protectionism as countries retrench and close borders to trade and exchange.

China, for example, is making deliberate moves into the Pacific.

China is a significant trade market for New Zealand, accounting for almost 30 per cent of our total trade.

For Māori, this number is almost double (seafood, horticulture, forestry, meat, and dairy). We must weigh up the risk of continuing to place prominence in this market, while recognising the premium prices paid for New Zealand – and specifically Māori – goods.

Given all of the risks that are seemingly converging together rapidly, Te Taumata is promoting a simple 4-point New Zealand and Māori strategy:

  1. Continue the focus on an export-led strategy for New Zealand out of COVID-19, given that one in four jobs for whānau are derived from international trade
  2. Diversify markets for Māori products and services across multiple global markets, identifying and capitalising on new opportunities like the NZ/UK FTA where tariffs for all products have been removed.
  3. Ensure Māori have a strong voice in all trade negotiations with the rest of the world, continuing face to face dialogue between trade officials and Māori business leaders.
  4. Grow Māori capability in lead trade agencies like MFAT and NZTE, giving Māori the opportunity to reach executive levels in these crucial agencies.

While geopolitical and other challenges have increased in frequency and intensity, the long proven responses to these risks remains unchanged:

  1. Promote free-trade, and
  2. Not to keep all our eggs in one basket! 

The challenge will be implementing this strategy and forming a co-ordinated approach that involves iwi and Māori business working closely with Government.



Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

CCAB delivers programs that facilitate the growth of Indigenous business, build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous business, and ensure life-long learning for Indigenous entrepreneurs, and other Canadian business leaders. These efforts recognise the central role that Indigenous business and communities hold in the future of Canada.
Our mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities and awareness for all of our members.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Ministry acts in the world to make New Zealanders safer and more prosperous.
E mahi ana te Manatū i te Ao kia whai haumaru me te whai rawa mo Aotearoa.
New Zealand’s security and prosperity depend on the conditions in, and our connections with, the wider world. This means we must engage with – and seek to influence – other countries to our advantage, in line with New Zealand’s values and interests including that of Maori.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is the government agency charged with helping New Zealand businesses to grow internationally.
We use our extensive knowledge and global networks to help exporters of all sizes make better decisions and connect to the right partners and investors.
We connect international businesses and investors with high-value growth opportunities in New Zealand.
By supporting New Zealand businesses, we boost New Zealand's economy and reputation, and help to share what's special about New Zealand with the rest of the world.

Callaghan Innovation

We are New Zealand's innovation agency. We activate innovation and help businesses grow faster for a better New Zealand.
We partner with ambitious businesses of all sizes, providing a range of innovation and research and development (R&D) services to suit each stage of growth.
Our people – including more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists and engineers – empower innovators by connecting people, opportunities and networks, and providing tailored technical solutions, skills and capability development programmes, and grants co-funding.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) plays a central role in shaping and delivering a strong New Zealand economy.
Our role is to create better outcomes for all New Zealanders, particularly by supporting business growth.
We are responsible for the delivery of advice, regulation and services that have a real impact on people, businesses and the environment within which they operate.