Wāhine make up large chunk of Māori business owners, research shows

Source: Te Karere

A large percentage of Māori businesses are owned by wāhine Māori, and they’re also more likely to employ Māori, new research shows.

That’s according to the latest Government figures from Te Matapaeroa 2020 which was released on Wednesday night.

The report found almost 40% of Māori-owned businesses have wāhine Māori as owners.

It also revealed that on average, Māori comprised 43% of the workforce of Māori-owned businesses with wāhine Māori owners.

In contrast Māori represented 38% of the workforce of Māori-owned businesses without wāhine Māori and 14% of the workforce of non-Māori owned businesses.

Wahine Māori business owner Awhina Murupaenga of Whatu Creative isn’t surprised by the figures, and says it’s a reflection of te ao Māori.

“The wāhine pakihi (business) owners that I personally know, we’re always thinking about our mokopuna and their mokopuna. So when we’re developing our pakihi, we’re making value systems and frameworks that are building 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 the areas of te ao Māori and so I'm not surprised that that reflects in business.”

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

Kahukura Henare

Another Māori business owner, Kahukura Henare of One Fit Hire, told Te Karere 40% was a great number, but she wants to see even more wāhine in business.

“I think we’re naturally creative and like we’re really good at helping Māori. To see more wāhine Māori in business would be amazing.

“When I think about my customer base, 90% of them are Māori or Pasifika which is so cool. But then when I think about doing partnerships with other businesses, I always make sure I go for Māori-owned businesses, or Pasifika-owned businesses.

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

The research also found that Māori businesses in most industries were generating lower financial margins than non-Māori-owned businesses.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said in a statement the information was valuable in helping Te Puni Kōkiri and other government agencies to develop policies, based on evidence, to help whānau thrive.

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