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Dalziel Speech: Maori Women's Welfare League

Speech by Minister of Women's Affairs Lianne Dalziel to Maori Women's Welfare League 54th National Conference:

1 October 2006 Speech Notes Embargoed until delivery: 9am Sunday 1 October 2006 MaoriWomen's Welfare League 54th National ConferenceTurangawaewae MaraeNgaruwahia

E te manawa o Waikato - Tainui To you, the people of Waikato – Tainui

Ko tenei te poroporoaki ki a Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu This is a tribute to the MaoriQueen

Me whakamaumahara tatou i a koe We will remember you

E te wahine toa, e te wahine hūmarie, e te mana wahine! As a strong woman, as a humble woman, as a Maoriwoman leader

E kore koe e warewaretia (PAUSE) You will never be forgotton.

Ka huri au ki Te Arikinui hou, Tuheitia I stand to greet the new King, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki

Waikato taniwharau, he piko he taniwha Waikato, river of a hundred bends, and on every one a chief, I greet you

E nga reo, e nga mana, e nga rau Rangatira ma To all voices, to all authorities, to you all as leaders

Tenei te mihi ki a koutou This is a greeting to you who have gathered here today.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena ra tatou katoa. Greetings, greetings, greetings to you all.

Thank you for the privilege of addressing this conference. As one of the partnership organisations along with the National Council of Women and Pacifica it is important to me that I am here at the first Conference of the Maori Women's Welfare League since my appointment as Minister of Women's Affairs. I am honoured to be here with my colleagues the Hon Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Winston Peters.

May I pay tribute to the representatives from Kai Tahu, especially those from Otautahi where I was born and part of which I have the privilege of representing in Parliament.

Before beginning though, there are a few people who must be acknowledged:

Firstly, one cannot stand on this ground without remembering the wonderful life and contribution of the late MaoriQueen, Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Her support for the League as Patron and for the advancement of Maoriwomen will be a treasured memory and she will be missed.

To the MaoriWomen's Welfare League, thank you Linda Grennell for the invitation, and for your leadership. To past presidents of the League, and members gathered here today, a warm greeting to you all.

Today I would like to focus on Maoriwomen in business and leadership, which means that I will be wearing my Minister of Commence and Minister of Small Business hats as well as my Women's Affairs one. The emergence of a new generation of Maoriwomen as business leaders and entrepreneurs is something that the League can take some pride in.

The number of talented Maoriwomen I meet in my ministerial roles is significant indeed. I know this is of no surprise to you because you know that women have been a driving force in the renaissance of Maorilanguage, art, culture and commercial endeavour. It was Maoriwomen – including many in this room - who set up the Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Maoriand Matua Whangai programmes. It is also women like you who have taken an increasing and vital role in iwi authorities, Maoritrust boards, urban Maoriauthorities, and businesses – and who have initiated organisations like MaoriWomen's Development Inc which provides funding and other support for Maoribusiness. These are roles that contribute strongly to the economic growth of Maoriand of Aotearoa as a whole.

And this renaissance in language, art, culture and business is not only shaping the future of Maori, it is also helping to shape all New Zealanders' sense of what it is to be a part of Aotearoa. It is very much part of our identity as a nation and one we all take pride in, no matter how our ancestors travelled here.

I see the new confidence that those changes have brought, and I particularly see it being expressed in some wonderful creativity and innovation from Maoriwomen.

I'm thinking here of young, talented Maoriwomen such as: • designer Leiana Rei Perawiti who spoke at a Mana Wahine celebration I hosted in Wellington earlier this year; or • business consultant Traci Houpapa, who features in a recent publication on self-employed business women put out by the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women; or • Rhonda Kite, a businesswoman whom I'm sure is known to many of you, who owns and manages multi-media companies.

Leiana inspired us with her story of how, within five years of graduating with a Bachelor of Fashion from Wanganui Polytechnic, she had collected a bevy of fashion awards, established her own label with outlets like Kirkcaldies and Stains and Te Papa, and licensed her paua printed fabric to Moontide International, New Zealand's largest swimwear company.

Traci is the co-owner of a Hamilton-based business consultancy and describes her (quote) "passion for Maoridevelopment, especially for women" as being an important motivation for both being in business and succeeding in business. And Rhonda was MaoriBusinesswoman of the Year in 2002, who has a passion for promoting te reo Maorito a wider audience, which she has done through her multi-media companies such as Waiata Productions.

These women are great role models. What strikes me though, is that although each of these women is making a unique contribution, there are actually hundreds of Maoriwomen like them across a wide range of industries and disciplines who are also making names for themselves.

I have been sharing the impressions I have formed through meeting with businesses and with groups of women around New Zealand, and there is plenty of hard evidence that Maoriwomen are seizing these opportunities too.

As the Minister pointed out in his opening address, you can see it in the tertiary education statistics: in just five years, from 1998 to 2003, the number of Maoriwomen students increased threefold. In 2003, almost two in three Maoristudents were women.

You can see it too, in the number of Maoriwomen going into business. Over the past 20 years the number of self-employed Maorihas increased 156 per cent, which has been stronger than the growth in self-employment by non-Maori. Maoriwomen are also well represented in this growth - since 1991 Maorifemale self-employment has increased at double the rate of that of Maorimen - by 106 per cent, while Maorimale self-employment has only increased by 54 per cent.

We also know that Maoribusinesses don't just invest in the big cities. Many Maoribusinesses have sprung up from provincial towns and cities, some of them with strong iwi connections. One of the reasons New Zealand has done so well economically over the past few years is the level of growth in the regions. Part of the reason for that success has been that Maoriare doing well.

Other recent research indicates that Maoriwomen are more likely to set up new businesses than other New Zealand women.

Research on Maoriin business undertaken as part of the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that a high proportion of Maoriwomen go into business for the opportunities it offers, rather than going into business out of necessity.

Maoriwere ranked very highly for business optimism, for use of the latest technology and for expectations of job creation.

This supports my strong impression that there are many confident, talented Maoriwomen out there who are prepared to take risks to realise their dreams. I doubt there has been a better time to be young, talented, female and Maori.

I have focussed so far on leaders, but the contribution of Maoriwomen is much broader than these stars who inspire us. Maoriwomen, in particular, have been a very significant part of New Zealand's strong economic growth in recent years, entering the workforce in record numbers.

Between 1994 and 2004 the number of Maoriwomen in the labour force grew 41 per cent, from 68,000 to 96,000. In the same period the unemployment rate for Maoriwomen was nearly halved, from 19 per cent to 10 per cent – and it has since fallen further to under nine per cent.

In that same decade there was more than a 200 per cent increase in the number of Maoriwomen who completed tertiary qualifications, and an increase in the proportions of Maoriwomen in skilled and highly skilled jobs.

These figures illustrate the significant contribution Maoriwomen are making to New Zealand. What such figures never really tell, however, is what a huge positive change there has been in the lives of individual women and their whanau. This change has come from having improved incomes into the family, from having more rewarding work, and from having better prospects and more attractive choices.

So the story has been pretty positive, but there are still opportunities going begging.

Last month I launched a Human Rights Commission report called "Give Girls A Go!" which profiles female modern apprentices in New Zealand. New Zealand faces a labour skills shortage in trade areas such as building, motor mechanics and electricians, but it continues to be difficult to attract women to these non-traditional work areas, despite the government determination to increase the numbers in the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, backed by additional funding over four years of more than $34 million announced in this year's Budget.

Women make up just eight and a half per cent of Modern Apprentices. I haven't seen a breakdown of Maoriwomen's participation, but Maoriparticipation in the scheme overall is about 14 per cent, which is in about the same as the percentage of Maoriin the general workforce. There is good money and secure careers in the trades and I would like to see more young women – Maoriand non-Maori– making use of those opportunities.

It is good that Maoriwomen's unemployment has fallen so much, but it is still well above that of both non-Maoriwomen and non-Maoriand Maorimen. That is a huge waste of talent, both for the individuals, and for the country as a whole.

I am confident that we will see many of those women unlock their talents as they are inspired by the ever increasing numbers of successful Maoriwomen role models.

As a New Zealander I am immensely encouraged by that prospect and thankful that the life of the nation is being enriched by talented Maoriwomen like those I have mentioned.

I am also thankful for the continuing support of the MaoriWomen's Welfare League, which, for more than half-a-century, has worked to create a pathway of security and opportunities for future generations of Maori. You can take no small credit for the success of the current generation of Maoriwomen, and I know you are committed to even greater progress in future. I thank you for this opportunity to speak to you, and for the support and advice that you provide to me in my role as Minister of Women's Affairs.

So in line with the theme of this conference:

Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your food basket, and with my food basket, the people will flourish.

ends

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