Speech notes to
Alexander Park Raceway
Hon. Tau Henare
Wake up and smell the millennium.
It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to prepare the current and next generation to enter the new millennium on equal
footing with the rest of New Zealand and in a positive context.
The new millennium presents many challenges and the main one has to be closing the disparity gap that exists between
Maori and non-Maori. Actually, we need to go one step further than that and do more than just bridge the gap, but be
leaders in setting benchmarks for non-Maori to aspire to.
That's what we need to be doing - achieving despite the gap - and a key to this is through Maori enterprise. I see this
hui as a cornerstone for developing a strategic plan to guide Maori business development in the new millennium.
Before I talk about strategies etc I think it's important to celebrate some of our success stories. Blow a little if you
We're good at saying how stink we are ? I should know, people aren't slow in coming forward in telling politicians
what's on their minds ? but we have this inherent ability, it's actually part of the NZ culture, to bag success.
So I'm going to brag a bit for some of our Maori economic heroes:
* Tamaki Tours
* Carich Productions
* Animation Research
* Mokai Geothermal
* Tohu Wines
Take a bow. You are but small proof that we're part of the new world order.
You are also proof that use of a distinctive Maori brand gives us market power in the deregulated economy and
distinguishes Maori from their rivals, therefore giving Maori a competitive advantage that must be protected.
Current economic and social philosophers ? and you can add political in there as well ? have failed to grasp another
paradigm ? cultural capital.
One that can give a sense of unity and pride to a population overwhelmed by the animosity of the global market place yet
is able to take advantage of the new and exciting opportunities that it presents.
The crisis facing this country is not so much the state of the economy, but rather the state of the nation's spirit.
Today's leaders have failed to see cultural capital as an important source of unity and pride, yet an election victory
hangs on it, and thriving economies like the Japanese and Irish openly flaunt it for their own economic gain.
Strategies for success
The 70s and 80s were the time of struggle for our land and our language. The land march, Bastion Point, the Hikoi ki
Waitangi and the beginning of the kohanga reo movement symbolise those years.
During the 90s we began to feel our political power and the last election saw the greatest number of Maori in our
history enter Parliament.
The 90s have also been the age of Treaty settlements, and although these are fraught with controversy and difficulty,
there is a growing awareness amongst our people that it is time to leave behind the grievance mode.
Poised on the cusp of our new millennium we need to decide what the next decade will be remembered for. It is my fervent
hope that this time will be known as the age of the Maori economic renaissance.
Despite a host of achievements at a government level in recent times we are still in the position of having to ask
government to financially support our initiatives. It doesn't matter whether these are economic, social or cultural, we
are forced to make initiatives fit tauiwi criteria. That is a form of slavery ? economic slavery.
You know I once heard one of this country's top public servants, Phil Pryke, say there were more accountability
mechanisms built into Maori processes than he'd ever encountered. That's saying something for a man who you could assume
had seen it all.
So much of our energy and intellectual capacity is utilised in the welfare bureaucracy. That is, the sharing and caring
We are the beneficiary, the WINZ worker and the Trust that contracts to deliver social services on behalf of the
Don't get me wrong, I know only too well how necessary this work is given our current negative statistics. Yet the best
we are achieving by continuing this focus is managing poverty, not defeating it.
To defeat our poverty we are going to have to make a collective decision, a conscious leap to a new paradigm, a new way
There has to be a time when we can create our own wealth. We have to abandon the idea that the Government will be
overcome with guilt and return the country to us. No oppressed people were ever freed by the oppressor. In the end
freedom must be taken.
When a strong regular army fights guerilla forces its primary aim is to separate the guerilla from his food source, his
access to the necessities of life. He must then spend his energy scavenging for food, for supplies, and eventually his
will to win is destroyed.
In an economic sense that is us and where we are right now.
Mao Tse Tung developed a counter strategy that he used successfully in China. It was used again by Ho Chi Minh in
Vietnam, not once, but twice.
Mao's strategy had three stages. First, build support amongst your people, educate them, and create enthusiasm and
commitment for the idea of freedom. When you have a strong core group of people who are willing to fight and who believe
in the cause, train them well with the skills of modern war. Just to fight is not enough. They must also be well
The second stage was a campaign of attacks against strategic targets that are important to the enemy that allowed his
war machine to run efficiently. Disruption and uncertainty are the outcome. The guerilla army can never be caught on
open ground during this stage or it will be destroyed completely. It must build its experience, its capability, learning
from its mistakes and consolidating its gains amongst the people.
The final stage begins when all these factors have converged together ? support, discipline, experience, capability and
belief. The enemy will have become defensive, unsure of his control and prone to over reaction, the morale of his
soldiers weak and unsound. It is then time to strike with all the power the guerilla army has built up in one complete
and final blow.
For a good part of the last decade we've been building economically and we can't afford to let the momentum be stopped.
The question is how will we do it? Follow the tried and true path?
Firstly, education. Not just art, language and teaching. These must be supplemented with science, mathematics,
information technology and management skills. These are the tools of the new war.
At the same time encourage debate on economic ideas to inform our people so they can participate in the decisions that
need to be made.
Then build our infrastructure. Use the settlements and government contracts to build the capability of our whanau, hapu
and iwi (and includes the new urban iwi) organisations.
Build the human capital and the financial capital. Our targets are currently health, education and social services. Our
next focus may be on the control of public utilities; electricity companies, ports and harbours,
At a regional level we should seek partnerships between iwi, local and national government to attract industry and
partners to our papakainga areas such as Northland and the East Coast. These partners must have objectives that are in
synergy with ours and provide employment and training, careful use of natural resources and respect for the land.
The final stage will be our participation in the national and global economies as an equal, not a poor relation.
I see a time within the next decade when we are a substantial force at all levels. We need to rid ourselves of our fear
of success, our fear of overseas investment, our fear of economic development.
None of these are a threat to our culture if we are in control. An economically strong Maori people can only be good for
our culture. An economically strong Maori people can only be good for the country as a whole. Almost a third of the GDP
of this country goes into government spending and a disproportionate amount of that is spent on Maori welfare.
As I have always said, the Government is a poor parent.
Lets take a little time, ladies and gentlemen, to reflect on the obstacles for Maori.
And the one that keeps coming up time and again is financial assistance or venture capital.
The current political rhetoric opposes any assistance at all, however I must admit to feeling a little aroha for people
with the ideas, enthusiasm and the drive, but no money to do the job.
But I believe access to capital combined with business development services will allow more Maori to enter the business
Education is another obstacle to Maori development ? or lack of it ? but increasing Maori participation at all levels.
Launch Maori Business Education Initiative
One of my last tasks while I'm still on my feet is to take this opportunity to announce that through the efforts of
Victoria and Auckland Universities, Maori will have access to knowledge and advanced training, previously not available.
I am pleased that present here for this announcement are the Dean of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University,
Prof Neil Quigley, and the Dean of Commerce from Auckland, Prof Bruce Spicer, along with our good friend, Prof Graham
The two universities are coordinating in a unique programme, which utilises technology in a way, which makes business
and commercial study accessible to all of our people. The programme centres around a new Victoria University certificate
of Maori Business, which is part of the B.Com programme offered by the university.
The programme will be taught throughout NZ on a block course basis and through electronic teaching. It covers the key
areas relating to the management of Maori authorities and the establishment of small and medium-sized businesses.
It also covers all aspects of business relating to the constitutional frameworks, accounting, marketing and strategic
Some of you are here today because Tuku, Rana, Jack, Ann and I decided to keep the ship steady and supported economic
stability, rather than continuing down the path of recklessness Winston was taking us.
Our decision had nothing to do with the Ltds ? they're Fairmonts anyway. We put the interests of the nation, including
yours, ahead of our own. If we didn't you could guarantee the markets would've gone into a spin and the stock market
would have plummeted dramatically and we'd be in a worse position today.
We've not asked for anything in return, but we carried on with the job we were given when we came into Government in
1996 and fought damn hard for everything we've got.
Of course we're not going to turn things around overnight. It's taken over 100 years to get us into the position we're
in, but we're making a difference and that's the key.
So I find it a bit rich when people point the finger at me and say: but unemployment is still high etc.
That may be so but it took us 100+ years to get us there. People like me have made a difference in a little under three
I know it's not our way to say how sweet the kumara is, but they grow aplenty where I come from, and I wouldn't want to
be selling you spuds. Besides, if I don't tell you, no one else is going to.
Finally, I'm confident that a path towards increasing Maori participation in the commercial world will be drawn out from
this hui and I wish you well.