NZTE powers up Māori business team

6 March 2015 : New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is increasing its support for Māori businesses wanting to grow internationally, with two new appointments to its Māori business team.

Dale Stephens and Tina Wehipeihana-Wilson have both been appointed customer managers.

NZTE Director of Māori Business Liz Te Amo says that NZTE is focused on unlocking the power of the Māori export economy by working with more Māori companies, collectives and leaders to create more successful international companies.

“NZTE’s role is to help companies succeed internationally, to connect them to others who can partner with them, and work with them to make the most of the opportunities offshore.

“We want to ensure Māori can engage with us easily. We have recognised that for this to happen, we need to have people in our organisation with a deep understanding of Māori business, people and culture, and these appointments are a key part of this.”

Ms Te Amo says that the Māori economy, which was valued at $37 billion in 2011, has huge potential to lift the New Zealand economy.

“While a lot of Māori assets are concentrated in the primary sector, many of these are underutilised. There are also strong aspirations to move up the value chain, participate directly in export markets and use Māori strengths in relationship building and storytelling to carve out a unique proposition with global consumers –many of whom are interested in safe healthy food and natural products, integrity in supply chains and stories, cultural identity and the origins and sustainability of products.

“We also have a lot of mainstream companies and investors saying to us ‘we’re interested in partnering with Māori, can you help us understand the landscape’, and there is huge interest from international markets, both trade and investment, in working with Māori,” Ms Te Amo says.

Dale Stephens has been appointed to the role of customer manager based in Christchurch,and will be working closely with Māori businesses in the South Island. He has had a varied career in senior roles across the public sector including with NZ Police and the Ministry of Primary Industries, as well as leadership and business development roles in the private sector in New Zealand, Asia and Australia. Dale hails from Te Rarawa iwi in the Far North and is fluent in Te Reo.

Tina Wehipeihana-Wilson has been appointed to the role of customer manager and will be working with Māori companies throughout the North Island. Tina has extensive business and investment experience and deep connections within Māoridom. Most recently she was the CEO for Taupo Moana Group/IWIinvestor -specialist investment advisors for Māori, providing services and advice for wholesale funds management, insurance collaborations, and IWIinvestor Kiwisaver Scheme -the only Māori owned accredited KiwiSaver retirement savings scheme; and has been involved with investment and business strategy, financial management, training and economic development for 20 years specialising in the Māori sector.

Tina is a Registered Financial Advisor and has extensive governance experience in both Māori and non-Māori organisations. Tina hails from Ngati Tukōrehe, Ngati Raukawa, Muaupoko, Rangitane and Ngai Tahu.

For more information, please contact: Dana Findlay, Communications Manager, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Phone 09 354 9058, email dana.findlay@nzte.govt.nz