Wāhine make up large portion of Maori business owners, research shows


A large percentage of Maori businesses are owned by Wāhine Māori, and they are also more likely to employ Maori, according to new research.

This is according to the latest Te Matapaeroa 2020 government figures which were released on Wednesday evening.

The report found that nearly 40% of Māori-owned businesses have Wāhine Māori as owners.

It also revealed that on average Māori made up 43% of the workforce in Māori-owned businesses with wāhine Māori owners.

In contrast, Māori made up 38% of the workforce in Māori-owned businesses without wāhine Māori and 14% of the workforce in non-Māori-owned businesses.

Awhina Murupaenga, owner of Wahine Māori, of Whatu Creative, is not surprised by the numbers and says it is a reflection of te ao Māori.

“Owners of wāhine pakihi (business) that I know personally, we always think of our mokopuna and their mokopuna. So when we develop our pakihi, we create value systems and frameworks that build a sustainable pakihi.

“I think it’s a reflection of our culture, of te ao Māori. I guess we have a huge role to play in all areas of te ao Māori and so I’m not surprised that this is reflected in business.

Murupaenga’s popular Tuktuku toi kits were launched on social media and sold out within an hour.

Another Maori business owner, Kahukura Henare of One Fit Hire, told Te Karere that 40% is a big number, but she wants to see even more wāhine in business.

“I think we are naturally creative and really good at helping Maori. To see more Wāhine Māori in business would be amazing.

“When I think of my clientele, 90% of them are Maori or Pasifika, which is so cool. But then when I think about partnering with other businesses, I always make sure to opt for Maori-owned businesses or Pasifika-owned businesses.

“By taking them on board with a bigger audience and things for me, it means I can help them with their business.”

The research also found that Maori businesses in most industries generated lower financial margins than non-Maori-owned businesses.

Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson said in a statement that this information was valuable in helping Te Puni Kōkiri and other government agencies develop evidence-based policies to help whānau thrive.

“This work shows the contribution of Maori to the wider economy. This will inform future policy work to build the Maori economy.


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