News Item

Don Mann | CEO July 2019 Pānui

News 15 Jul 2019

Kia ora, Mālō e lelei, Halo olketa and Mauri,

I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my well wishes to the people and governments of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati who celebrated their nation’s independence day last week.

Having been to the Solomon Islands as part of the Pacific Mission earlier last month, I am reminded of the Pacific Reset principles that were present through the NZ-supported initiatives promoting community engagement, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Although I have yet to visit Kiribati, I am aware of the country’s 20 year development strategy ‘KV20’ in partnership with New Zealand who are working to ensure that Kiribati’s development priorities to become a wealthy, healthy and peaceful nation becomes a reality.

Māori Pacific Business Forum

A key strategic pillar of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) is to promote greater awareness of shared experiences and the potential for enhanced collaboration between Māori and Pacific Island resource owners.

On the 26th and 27th June, PCF hosted the inaugural Māori Pacific Business Forum at Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development, Ngaaruawaahia.

The forum theme was, "He maha ngā tangata whenua, he iwi moana kotahi" (Peoples of many lands, people of one ocean).

Delivered in partnership with Te Ohu Whai Ao Trust, resource owners from eight Pacific Island countries and the French territory of New Caledonia came together to learn from one another and from the experiences of Māori resource owners.

The manaakitanga and korero from Waikato Tainui tribal leaders, college staff and Tainui Group Holdings was instrumental in leaving an indelible impression on our Pacific manuhiri.

Although discussions centred around learnings from Waikato Tainui post-settlement commercial and tribal structures; delegates were provided a complete historical overview of pre-colonial Pacific innovation and science, the Māori economy, Māori trade and land confiscations (Te Raupatu) through presentations from Hoturua Barclay Kerr, Dr Robert Joseph, University of Waikato and Te Ohu Whai Ao Chair Richard Jefferies.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development and Local Government provided an inspirational overview of key strategies driving economic progress for Māori. This was coupled with her unique insight into the whakapapa, rangatiratanga and kingitanga of Waikato-Tainui.

Building relationships before business

Sessions delivered at the forum enabled each of our representatives from eight Pacific countries to present, outlining their country’s customary land systems, cultural values, business opportunties and goals.

There was an emphasis on establishing relationships before entering into any stages of business. The idea of reciprocity is instrumental in all Pacific nations, acknowledging the obligation of care between individuals and groups and to work together for a common purpose.

Below are the business goals of each Pacific delegates[1]

Pacific country



  • Create equal opportunities for all indigenous people in the Pacific

New Caledonia

  • Strenghen relationships with neighbours in the Pacific region
  • Facilitate discussions on economic issues with an indigenous approach
  • Promote partnerships in various fields in both public and private sectors
  • Promote economic initiatives by building on new opportunities
  • Explore new funding platforms


  • To work as a collective in establishing different hubs in the Pacific using science and technology

Papua New Guinea

  • To uplift good entrepreneurship between Pacific and the rest of the world


  • To learn more from the Maori economy and people through collaborative work

Solomon Islands

  • To create conducive, friendly business partnershup on our land
  • To foster sustainable development, adhering to the importance of our culture
  • To create a platform for expansion of Pacific business partners on our land


  • To firm up arragements with local people in the areas of renewable energy, fisheries and information technology


  • To see Ni-Vanuatu excel from very small subsistence farming to commercialsed farming

Following the presentations, the Pacific delegates were also taken on a Tainui Group Holdings Assets tour.

They were shown a range of assets/investments including the Waikato Milking Systems, Novotel and Ibis in Hamilton, farms, Ruakura inland port, social housing scheme for the tribe, TE AWA shopping centre and other properties that Tainui Group Holdings own around Hamilton.

It was a great learning experience for the delegates as they were able to see tangible evidence of tribal investment and learn about Tainui Group Holdings diversification strategy to manage their portfolio of assets.

Overall the forum had provided a platform where resource owners from the eight forum island countries and Māori business representatives were able to connect, understand the different issues and challenges, and explore opportunities that are available for investment in their communities.

Furthermore, the delegates also emphasised the need to strengthen indigenous trade in the future.

Many connections were established at the forum and a number of the participants have started discussing the next steps for them at the bilateral level particularly for further engagement with Māori resource owners.

On behalf of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation I would like to thank the following who made this forum a success, without their support this initiative would not have been possible:

  • PCF Board and staff
  • Mr. Richard Jefferies and Rachel Petero of Te Ohu Whai Ao
  • Tuu’u Kalala Mary Autagavaia
  • Afamasaga Jackie Curry of Spacific Consultancy
  • Gretel Elisiva Toleafoa of Tonga Business Network
  • Dr. Cheryl Stephens of Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development
  • Mereaina Herangi of Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development
  • John Pulu of Sunpix, our Masters of Ceremony
  • Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, guest speaker
  • Dr. Robert Joseph, guest speaker
  • Geneva Harrison and Hinemoa Key, facilitators from Tuhi
  • Minister Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, guest speaker
  • Pierre Tohe of Tainui Group Holdings

Te Ao Māori news coverage of the Māori Pacific Business Forum

[1] Please note that these goals are the views of the delegates only

Above image: L - R: Rachel Petero, Don Mann and John Pulu