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Māori Agribusiness

About 1.4 million hectares of New Zealand land is Māori freehold land, the Māori economy is estimated to total $40 billion and is almost exclusively made up of primary sector assets. As a result, Māori own and operate many agribusinesses.

A Māori agribusiness is a business that identifies itself as a Māori agribusiness. It will have strong Māori culture, values, tradition and tikanga which underpins land management and utilisation and will employ modern primary and secondary production practices and technologies. These include multiple owner, collectively owned trusts and incorporations and sector service providers. It will be owned by Māori, may be predominately staffed by Māori and te reo may often be used in workplace interactions. Part of its kaupapa may be to support the Māori community using other priorities apart from economic such as social, cultural, environmental, spiritual and philanthropic. This is often called the "multiple bottom line" and is an important distinction in the way Māori agribusinesses make their decisions and to achieve the goals and objectives of the owners as a collective. These businesses are measured against multiple goals, not just financial or economic. These are integrated aspects to a Māori agribusiness, and is vital to understand if students are going to be working in Māori agribusinesses.

The subject Agribusiness will have particular emphasis on future proofing, the concepts of land and water value, kaitiakitanga and the relationship of these kaupapa Māori-based systems to agribusinesses. Students will develop an understanding of Māori resource issues and the relevance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to Māori agribusiness and present day legislation. There are some laws that are only applicable to Māori businesses and these will need to be adhered to such as the Māori Fisheries Act (2004) and fishing quotas.

Māori values important to Māori Agribusiness

The concepts below underpin the Māori worldview and value system and drive Māori agribusiness behaviour.


The concept of tikanga refers to Māori ethics and customary values and practices such as whakapapa – honouring your genealogy. The tikanga of Māori agribusinesses will have a strong influence on the general conduct of day to day affairs and in the balancing of values in management decisions.


Kaupapa refers to principles, policies and ideas which act as a base or foundation for action. An agribusiness kaupapa is a set of values, principles and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions within the business. 


Kaitiakitanga is the guardianship and stewardship of mahinga kai (food sources), land and waterways. Māori view themselves as kaitiaki (guardians, protectors) of the land for the benefit of future generations. For Māori agribusinesses, in particularly those that are of intergenerational nature, this is a key focus of the business and generally decisions made are on long term stability rather than short term gain.


Manaakitanga is hospitality, kindness, support and care for others. Policies written within the agribusiness will protect and nurture their people, ensure a progression plan through their business or in the industry and assigning a mentor for each person to support learning and life within that agribusiness.


Whānaungatanga is about attaining, maintaining and caring for whānau through relationships. Opportunities are provided within Māori agribusinesses to make real changes to people’s lives and to the lives of their whānau, through strengthening relationships and ties between one another and providing responsibilities as whānau.


Rangatiratanga is the Māori people’s right to participate in making decisions about their agribusinesses and to decide how primary sector services might be provided for their benefit. It enables whānau, hapū, iwi to exercise control over their own assets and agribusinesses, as well as the direction and shape of their own institutions, communities and development as a people.

Last updated December 15, 2017