An upgrade of our existing free trade agreement with China provides opportunities for Māori exporters and businesses while protecting the rights of Māori.

Opportunities for Māori exporters and businesses

The Māori economy has an asset base estimated to be worth around $50 billion, contributing significantly to the growth of the national economy. To date Māori economic growth has centred on four main sectors: agri-sector (forestry and fishing), tourism, property and construction and infrastructure, and technology and innovation.

These sectors are critical to the New Zealand economy and to export growth in particular. Māori own 50% of New Zealand’s fishing quota and approximately 30% of plantation forests. Collectively, Māori control around 30% of lamb production, 10% of milk production and 30% of sheep and beef production.

Key areas for future investment include: optimising existing assets to bring them into full production, ‘downstream activities’ including food processing assets and tourism facilities, infrastructure, and investing in technology and innovation to add greater value. 

Read more in ‘The Māori Economy Investor Guide [PDF, 4.7 MB]’ (2017) released by The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Protecting Māori interests

Recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The government’s right to regulate for legitimate public policy purposes continues to be protected as is our exception for the Treaty of Waitangi which enables the government to take any measures it considers necessary to fulfil its obligations to Māori.

Traditional knowledge

The upgrade to the free trade agreement does not change the right of both New Zealand and China to establish measures to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore consistent with international obligations. Our existing free trade agreement contains safeguards to ensure there are no adverse effects on New Zealand cultural values, including Māori interests.

Engagement with Māori 

Government decisions on the upgrade to the free trade agreements are and will continue to be informed by Māori concerns and interests as the Crown’s Treaty partner.

Read more about MFAT's consultation with Maori