There are some wicked successful Māori businesses out there, a fact I think that we do not celebrate enough. At the same time, how effective are Māori-owned businesses at promoting the economic, social, and cultural development of Māori? Tino rangatiratanga is, after all, an expression of our desire to take care of our own people, free from the influence of others. It is both a right and a duty. We have the right to the exercise of our tino rangatiratanga and we also have the duty to exercise tino rangatiratanga. So, how do we go about that in a business setting?
At its core, it is a commitment to operating according to the ideals of Tikanga Māori. Ownership of resources (profits) were shared amongst all members of the collective, in the business setting this means that profits are shared with employees. The concept of kaitiakitanga involves businesses minimizing the harm that they do to our environment, and taking active steps to protect it. Manakitanga places responsibilities on us as hosts to ensure that the manuhiri (our customers) are looked after, and made to feel valued. And, above all, the development of our people is placed above the pursuit of larger profits.
Tikanga can provide a pathway for a more prosperous Māori economic community, and over the coming months I am going to devote some time on this site to developing these concepts, both in my own business here at Māori Law and Politics, and by way of a general guide for Māori business. If you operate your business according to Tikanga Māori then I would love to hear about your experience in the comments section below. If you want to know more, then send me an email and let’s talk!