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Unlocking Maori business potential

Media Release 1 August, 2011

Unitec Forum for the Future - unlocking Maori business potential

New research puts the Maori economic base at $36.9 billion and Maori as the world's third most entrepreneurial indigenous people - harnessing their business potential would have major benefits for the New Zealand economy.

The question of how best this can be achieved is the focus of the third session of the Unitec Forum for the Future 2011 - Be the Change: Enriching Maori Entrepreneurship.

Now in its third year, the Unitec Forum for the Future 2011 seeks out knowledgeable thinking and speakers, from New Zealand and overseas, to discuss and shed new light on the issues of the day that really matter to our nation.

Each 90-minute session features a panel-style debate that brings together community and business leaders, academics and students in a fascinating live event. The forum sessions are open to the public of New Zealand, either through attendance, or by tuning in via live streaming. Internet viewers around the country will have the opportunity to interact with each session via Twitter, email and webcam (using Skype).

The debate will be facilitated by Broadcaster and Editor of TVNZ's Te Karere, Shane Taurima. Panelists include: Dr Pita Sharples, the Minister of Maori Affairs and member of the Maori Economic Taskforce; Kristian Beazley Bold Rigger, Nga Puhi business owner; Heta Hudson head of the WHK Business Growth Team; Leisa Nathan, business owner and business mentor; Andrea Anderson, Business Manager Ochre Business Solutions ltd and Eru Lyndon MBA, Policy advisor for Ngati Whatua corporate.

The panel and the audience will consider how Maori can embrace the future and make the most of the opportunities to grow, develop and innovate the way they do business in Aotearoa and how best Maori can successfully lead an entrepreneurial culture.

To make the most of Maori business opportunities, three fundamental challenges must be worked through: governance arrangements, property rights and mandates, and commercial value creation.

As the focus for Maori in business changes from a reliance on land-based commercial activities into a broad range of commercial ventures, a Maori taskforce has engaged Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) to investigate benefits for Maori in pursuing innovation, research and development, and technology activities.

Ngaire Molyneux, Lecturer in Maori Business at Unitec's Department of Marketing and Management says, "The notion of Whanaungatanga - business and entrepreneurial skills - is compatible with the possibilities of community economic developments, social enterprise and business development."

"An international survey of indigenous entrepreneurship found that Maori are the world's third most entrepreneurial people, which should position Maori well in to the future," she says.

The topic for this year's fourth and final session of the Unitec Forum for the Future 2011 being held next Thursday 11 August is: Reinventing Public Broadcasting.

Unitec Institute of Technology began its Unitec Forum for the Future series in October 2009. Last year's series focused on the creation of the Auckland Super City, and included two sessions on representation of Maori and Pacific Islanders in the new Super City structure.

"As host of this forum, Unitec recognises the value of intelligent and rigorous discussion to the critical issues that affect this country," says Executive Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries and Business, Leon Fourie. "The themes we select should stimulate ideas that, we hope, contribute to a vital and thinking democracy, and an innovative and prosperous economy."

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