Wed 4 Apr 2018

Businesses on a learning curve

A growing interest in appropriate behaviour when working with Maori in business was underlined by the fact 30 business people attend a Q and A session led by WITT’s Ken Taiapa and BJ Hetet in New Plymouth last week.

The introduction to Maori Culture in Business, a Chamber of Commerce-WITT event was so popular a late decision was made to move it to a larger venue.

“The biggest thing for me was that they wanted to know how to engage with Maori businesses, and understand the etiquette,” BJ Hetet said. “From our perspective, the main principle was showing respect, and that applies to all cultures.

“But simply using the greeting ‘kia ora’ is something that will break the ice. There was some discussion around barriers, that people felt a level of discomfort – so I hope this session was enlightening.”

BJ said it was encouraging to see so many company chief executives attend the session.

Olena Williams who holds Ethnic Cooking classes in mystery locations around Taranaki, wrote about the event on Facebook.

“We learnt that ever-changing demographics in New Zealand would require all of us to adopt some knowledge of #maoriculture.  There were many questions from owners and managers of businesses on how to engage with local iwi and show respect and appreciation. Everyone loved and quoted the question asked by Sophie Ellen Braggins on what is acceptable and appropriate when trying to speak Te Reo,” she posted.

Olena told WITT News “I loved the session – Ken and BJ are clever and articulate guys.”