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Tribal economic development in post-settlement era Aoteroa/New Zealand has opened up opportunities for Maori to invest in the sustainable commercial utilisation of their…
Tribal economic development in post-settlement era Aoteroa/New Zealand has opened up opportunities for Maori to invest in the sustainable commercial utilisation of their traditional economic resources. Mahinga kai (traditional food and food sources) has always been at the heart of the Maori tribe Ngāi Tahu’s spiritual, cultural, social and economic existence. The purpose of this research is to revitalise mahinga kai enterprise through the commercial development of traditional and contemporary food and food resources in a culturally commensurate manner.
Participant action research theory and practice were used by researchers from Toitū Te Kāinga (Regional Development Unit of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) between 2008 and 2012. This was informed by a Kaupapa Maori philosophy of respect and empowerment of the participants’ needs.
The development of the Ahikā Kai Indigenous business system shows that competitive advantage can be created for Indigenous businesses and enterprises through a four-pronged strategy based around: first, human rights that empower tribal members; second, product differentiation based on cultural principles; third, an internal accreditation system to help verify the ethical credibility of the products; and fourth, lowering producer costs through website marketing and direct-to-consumer selling.
This research adds to a growing (yet still evolving) body of literature on Indigenous entrepreneurship and the role of voluntary certification in Indigenous business development. The Ahikā Kai business system is an original world first for this type of Indigenous development based on creating a competitive advantage for multiple independent enterprises while maintaining the core integrity of its cultural brand and its operations.
The purpose of this research was to identify and create a decentralized development system specific for the whanau (family) and hapu/runanga (sub-tribe) members of Te…
The purpose of this research was to identify and create a decentralized development system specific for the whanau (family) and hapu/runanga (sub-tribe) members of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. In New Zealand, a number of Maori tribes have negotiated compensation with the New Zealand Government for past injustices. These assets are typically centralized within iwi (tribal) corporate structures to protect and grow the asset base on behalf of tribal constituents. This centralization of assets has caused political tension within tribes.
This paper provides a case study of whanau/hapu-level businesses facilitated by the post-settlement iwi – Ngāi Tahu – to demonstrate how each level can work synergistically to encourage multi-level economic development in a way that matches cultural patterns and expectations. Participant action research theory and practice was utilized by researchers from Toitu Te Kainga (Regional Development Unit of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) between 2008 and 2012. This was informed by an Enterprise Facilitation person-centred perspective and a Kaupapa Māori philosophy of respect and empowerment of the participants needs.
This paper argues that while a certain level of centralization is required, to ring-fence and protect tribal assets at an iwi (tribal) level, the benefits gained by that centralization can then be utilized to provide a springboard for decentralized economic development at the whanau (family) and hapu (sub-tribe) levels.
This new indigenous development system is referred to as the symbiotic development model and is an original outcome of this research paper. The paper concludes that tribal economic development in the post-settlement era in New Zealand needs to combine aspects of both centralization and decentralization.