Māori interests

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 New Zealand’s economy. Much of Māori business exposure to trade comes from a relatively high share of land and other primary sector assets within the overall Māori asset base.

Altogether, Māori enterprises account for 40% of New Zealand's forestry, 50% of the country’s fishing quota, 30% of sheep and beef production and 10% of dairy production.

Although the larger proportion of Māori assets are concentrated in the primary industries sector, there is increasing diversification into other areas, including geothermal, digital services, education, tourism and more recently, and housing.

Many of the KNZFTA outcomes are expected to benefit Māori exporters and businesses, including through:

  • increased access and improved quality of access for New Zealand trade and investment, which will contribute to growth, jobs and higher living standards.
  • the FTA’s contribution to raising the commercial profile of New Zealand companies in Korea.
  • the establishment of a framework through the FTA for discussing, co-operating and resolving issues of trade and labour and trade and environment.
  • the support provided by the FTA to New Zealand’s wider trade policy interests in strengthening economic integration in the Asia-Pacific and multilaterally.
  • the establishing of a framework through the FTA for resolving trade and investment issues in the future.

Recognising the Treaty of Waitangi

Māori have a unique status in Aotearoa New Zealand as the government’s treaty partner. New Zealand has maintained a general exception to ensure that New Zealand retains its ability to take measures to fulfil its obligations to Māori, including under the Treaty of Waitangi obligations, as long as such measures are not used as a means of arbitrary or unjustified discrimination or as a disguised restriction on trade.

The Treaty of Waitangi exception has been included in all of New Zealand’s free trade agreements since 2001, and reflects the constitutional significance of the Treaty of Waitangi to New Zealand.


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