Māori businesses flourish at FOMA night market

By Regan Paranihi

The Māori economy continues to grow in Aotearoa and the Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) is doing its part to help Māori businesses flourish.

As part of this year's FOMA conference, a night market was held in Nelson where local Māori businesses got an opportunity to showcase their products. It is a platform that could be the beginning of a profitable venture for these businesses.

FOMA member Lynda McGregor says, "We're working as a group to push forward and prosper Māori business and this is what we have this evening."

The Puha sisters from Mōtueka produce their very own Puha Pesto and they say, "It's great to be part of that movement of Māori entrepreneurialism."

The platform also shows the unique range of what these Māori entrepreneurs have to offer and what makes them stand out from mainstream.

"We have such a unique point of difference worldwide and there's also the ripple effect when we can create something that we're passionate about, it's going to flow and affect our community," Haley Lowe CEO of O Te Motu Creations says.

McGregor says they wanted to shine a light on the regional development in Nelson by focusing on local Māori businesses.

"We decided that we would produce a market where people could come and we could showcase some of the best and finest that we have to offer down here in Te Tau Ihu."

Ratahi Cross, Chairperson of Te Awanui Huka Pak Ltd, says Māori businesses have come a long way and they continue to grow in today's society.

"Māori are not just people tagged on to a mainstream organisation anymore. They're starting to look at the way they do business, and the one thing that Māori do is that they do business by networking."

"We found the network of wāhine within business has been amazing, supporting us, also having those women to look up to and to see those who are really out there making a huge difference in the business world," adds Lowe.

McGregor says there is definitely room for more Māori businesses to grow nationally and internationally.