Māori delegation to grow F&B links between New Zealand and Southeast Asia

Emerging Māori F&B (food and beverage) business leaders will explore new food frontiers in Southeast Asia on a programme organised by the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono, with support from Te Taumata – a national group established to advocate for Māori interests in trade.

The Foundation has organised the trip to Singapore and Thailand in May to support Māori entrepreneurs and emerging leaders to learn about the business environment and innovation in the region. They will also be able to build networks, explore the potential for collaboration and identify opportunities for business ventures.  
“And they will be able to do this in a uniquely Māori way, showcasing Māori culture, custom and products to partners in the region,” says Asia New Zealand Foundation Senior Adviser (Business) Ethan Jones. 
“Southeast Asia’s growing and youthful population and its need for protein sources mean the region will drive a lot of demand for healthy and safe foods in the years ahead. We can also expect to see Southeast Asia leading a lot of innovation in the food and beverage space.  
Not only does the region offer enormous opportunities to the Māori economy, but Māori food and beverage entrepreneurs have a lot to offer in return, as they have a focus on providing sustainable, healthy and traceable products.    

Te Taumata Chairman Chris Karamea Insley says the upcoming trade delegation provides an excellent opportunity for young exporters to grow the potential of their own operations, and in doing so, increase the contribution of the Māori export market to Aotearoa’s economy.  

“Māori have a long tradition of engaging in international trade, as tribal seafarers established trade routes with Australia as early as the 1700s. Today, international trade accounts for one in four Māori jobs across the country, making it a significant sector for Māori-led businesses, communities and whānau.”  
Running from 18 to 28 May, the programme will see the delegates learning about food production, distribution and consumption in the region. It will include visits to cultivated meat operations and meeting potential investors and distributors.     
Jones says participating entrepreneurs will return to New Zealand with more market knowledge, stronger networks, and increased confidence to explore export opportunities in the region. 
The participating entrepreneurs and business leaders are:   

  • Oren Dalton (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahu ki Whaingaroa, Ngāti Porou), director, Lone Bee, which produces sparkling mead from New Zealand honey. 
  • Sera-Belinda Grubb (Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa), managing director, Mana Kai Honey, a boutique beekeeping business that also owns and operates a honey extraction facility.  
  • Joe Harawira (Ngāti Awa, Ngai Te Rangi), co-founder/managing Director, Wai Mānuka, which produces a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage from New Zealand mānuka honey.    
  • Kieran Hema (Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu), logistics manager, Miraka, one of New Zealand’s largest Māori export businesses. 
  • Grant Kitchen (Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāti Kahungunu), award-winning chef and director Kāuta Ltd, a newly established company that operates as an e-commerce platform connecting Māori food and beverage producers with consumers across NZ.   
  • Helen Paul-Smith (Tapuika, Ngai Te Rangi), co-founder, ŌKU New Zealand, which uses New Zealand native plants known to Māori for their medicinal properties to produce premium native herb teas, skin creams and elixirs.   
  • Sara Smeath (Ngā Puhi) – CEO/co-founder, CiRCLR (F&B tech services), a sustainability start-up that operates a B2B (business-to-business) platform to reduce waste and create new revenue streams for businesses.   
  • Jackie Stephens (Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa, Ngai Te Rangi), project assistant, AuOra within Wakatū Incorporated. AuOra develops products that solve consumer health problems using active ingredients from the natural resources of land and ocean.   
  • Ross Tuini Manning (Ngāi Tahu), general manager, Treasure Pot Innovations, an incubation food manufacturing company focused on Asian fusion products.  

The delegation will also participate in the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Young Business Leaders Initiative Summit in Thailand. This event brings together more than 70 of Southeast Asia and New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs and will enable them to build networks and learn about the opportunities and challenges taking place across the region. The summit is part of an initiative the Asia New Zealand Foundation has been delivering for the New Zealand Government since 2011.  
Asia New Zealand Foundation Director Business Nick Siu says that after more than two years of pandemic-related disruptions, the Foundation is excited to be able to support New Zealand entrepreneurs to get back on the ground to Southeast Asia.    

In 2021 alone, New Zealand exported more than NZ$7 billion of goods and services to the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries. “And developments in the region are moving at a pace New Zealanders can barely comprehend, so it’s important to build strong networks and get our entrepreneurs into the region as much as possible,” Nick says.

The Foundation also acknowledges the ongoing support of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Māori business team and on the ground teams for this delegation.   
Established in 1994, the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s activities cover more than 20 countries in Asia and are delivered through a range of core programmes: arts, business, education, entrepreneurship, leadership, media, research, Track II diplomacy and sports. The Foundation is guided by its board of trustees and is supported by a network of Honorary Advisers in New Zealand and Asia. For more information, visit www.asianz.org.nz  

For more information, contact:   

Asia New Zealand Foundion

Katie Howe  
Director Communications and Media     
Telephone: 64 4 470 8701   
Email: khowe@asianz.org.nz

Te Taumata

Jacky James
Managing Partner, Shine Collective
Telephone: 64 21 577 87
Email: jacky@shinecollective.com.nz