Kia ora koutou,
I recently attended the Seriously Asia Revisited 2022 – trade, tourism and investment hui, facilitated by AsiaNZ, which focused on New Zealand’s relationship with Asia – past, present and future.
The hui was one of three held across the motu, each focusing on a different topic. It involved a diverse mix of people including Tourism New Zealand, Infometrics, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Ngāi Tahu Tourism, Te Puni Kōkiri, Fonterra and the New Zealand Government.
We focused on what Aotearoa has achieved since our journey began with Asia back in 2003 and dedicated time to debating what we could do better and what the future will look like.
Our perspectives on Asia as a market for Aotearoa and recommendations from this will be presented to the Prime Minister.
In his opening comments, the executive director for Asia New Zealand Foundation, Simon Draper, made the comment that “Māori are more successful in their efforts in trading in Asia than non-Māori.”
Simon is an experienced diplomat with an extensive international background in negotiation and relationship management so his comment won’t be taken lightly.
There was a consensus that New Zealand’s future in Asia would simply be an extension of business as usual, but Te Taumata believes business as usual won’t cut it.
Māori are proven players in Asia with a strong alignment on culture and intergenerational thinking. The strategy Te Taumata has proposed is to back Māori and invest heavily in our rangatahi (proposed $100 million sustained and systematic over many years).
The real pātai is whether Aotearoa and other stakeholders are game enough to back such a bold strategy toward Asia.
In the meantime, as Māori, we will continue to push on and keep progressing our own Māori-Asia strategy. We don’t want to fall into the consensus trap and wait for the slowest movers!
Chris Karamea Insley