The New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea, or the “Kiwi Chamber,” hosted a breakfast forum with the Honorable Te Ururoa Flavell, New Zealand minister for Maori development, this morning at the Grand Hyatt Seoul.
Minister Flavell, who is visiting Korea for the first time to lead a trade delegation of nine Maori businesses, addressed over 50 local business community leaders on the significance the Maori economy in New Zealand and abroad and his goal of extending the links that Aotearoa-New Zealand already shares with Korea. “Aotearoa” is the Maori name for the country of New Zealand, and its literal translation is “land of the long white cloud.”
Following on the recently implemented Korea-New Zealand FTA, the minister expressed that the trade delegation’s visit will allow Maori firms to explore new business opportunities. The minister also explained that Maori culture is what makes Maori business unique, and that the two cultures share many commonalities including placing great importance on building relationships. His sentiment is reflected in a Maori proverb, which goes: “What is the most important thing in the world? It is people. It is people. It is people.”
“Having Minister Flavell with us today to speak in front of the Kiwi Chamber is truly an honor,” said Tony Garrett, chairman of the Kiwi Chamber. “He illustrated very well the importance of Maori enterprises to New Zealand’s economy, and showcased the Maori innovation, leadership and business practices represented in the trade mission.”
The Maori economy makes up 5.6 percent of New Zealand’s GDP and represents over NZ$3.4 billion (US$2.4 billion) in exports. While its main strengths are in primary industries such as food and beverages, seafood, horticulture, forestry and tourism, Maori businesses also have capabilities in emerging sectors such as energy development, biotechnology, education, ICT, film and creative industries.
Food and beverage, particularly seafood, play an important role in Maori culture and the New Zealand economy. The food and beverage sector is largely made up of exports of kiwifruit, apples and pears, wine, and fresh and processed vegetables. Kiwifruit and wine are among the biggest horticulture earners, each with exports exceeding NZ$1 billion. In terms of seafood, Maori own 50 percent of New Zealand’s fishing quota, and the industry enjoys a strong international reputation for excellence based on high-quality products, high safety standards and a world-leading fisheries management program.
During their visit to Korea, the trade delegation will visit Noryangjin Fish Market; take part in a retail landscape tour, which includes visits to department stores and hypermarkets; and attend a seminar on how to do business in Korea.