Wāhine play a significant role in developing and sustaining the cultural, social and economic lives of many communities throughout Aotearoa. This is underlined by other research which shows that wāhine spend more time caring for others in their household and do more voluntary and community work than women from other ethnic groups.
Wāhine are the driving force behind education of their tamariki and other community development initiatives, and actively contribute to the growth and expansion of programmes and services for community. It goes without saying that the manaakitanga functions on any large gathering again find women to the fore in terms of leadership and organisation.
It comes as no surprise that outcomes for Wāhine have lagged behind outcomes for other women although these have greatly improved over recent years on a number of key indicators. Improvements are evident in the number of Māori women leaving school with at least NCEA level two, participation in tertiary education, an increased participation in the labour force, and significant improvements in health outcomes.
Economic position is a key determinant of health and other social outcomes so working to remedy Wāhine’s low income levels and improve their overall economic position, has positive downstream impacts on other dimensions of their lives and New Zealand society as a whole.
 Source: Ministry for Women’s Affairs
Is the Entrepreneurial approach the answer?
A 2005 report said:
“Overall our research shows that at both national and international levels, the extent and growth of Mäori entrepreneurship remains comparable if not better than the entrepreneurial strengths shown by other ethnicities, indeed by entire GEM nations. With a TEA rate of 17.1%, Mäori have surpassed all of the nations in GEM with the exception of Uganda, Venezuela, and Argentina. If Mäori were [a] country, Aotearoa would rank as the fourth most entrepreneurial country in the world”.
We don’t have specific figures for Maori women but in March of this year a report on Māori entrepreneurialism by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment found about 10 percent of Māori are self-employed or are employers. This compares with about 20 percent for the general population.
The report, based on data taken from the 2013 census went on to say that: Māori self-employed and employers are key considerations to achieving better outcomes for Māori and that increasing Māori entrepreneurialism was one way to get there.
But what do we mean when we talk about entrepreneurs? Aren’t these just people who are self employed? The answer is yes and no. Yes they are self employed but no they are also entrepreneurial because many are entering into areas of business where Maori women are not usually found.
 The Unitec Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: Towards High Growth Enterprise in New Zealand 03/04
Wahine Maori Entrepreneurs Conference
This conference will explore the proposition that being entrepreneurial is a big part of the answer. Our wāhine speakers are drawn from a range of employment endeavours and are keen to share their stories – the highs and the lows, the negatives and the positives – with others who are in the same position or who are thinking of venturing into this brave new world. To complement those presentations we have also invited wāhine with particular expertise in areas such as business practicalities, finance and marketing. How is it for indigenous women in other countries? Some of our speakers will talk from their own experience about being an indigenous woman entrepreneur in their countries.
Who should attend?
Artwork by Dion Seeling
If you get into entrepreneurship driven by profit, you are a lot more likely to fail. The entrepreneurs who succeed usually want to make a difference to people’s lives, not just their own bank balances. The desire to change things for the better is the motivation for taking risks and pursuing seemingly impossible business ideas.
3 – 4 October 2019
Novotel, Auckland Airport