Chinese welcome Māori business on leading online platform

By Talisa Kupenga

In a world first, a group of small to medium Māori businesses has secured a spot on one of China's main e-commerce sites, Alibaba Group's Tmall Global platform.

The Hui Māori Collective will have a Māori branded product suite to sell a range of premium products direct to the Chinese market.

Māori Development Minister Nania Mahuta says, "I think this it is really great to see Māori businesses expanding overseas into foreign markets."

Thirteen Māori businesses now have a place to market premium food products to an estimated audience of 307 million Chinese consumers.

Products available include Miraka milk powder, Tuku Māori Winemakers Collective wines, Mānuka honey from four businesses and kawakawa softdrink.

Products will also be verified and subject to quality assurance measures.

Kai Ora Honey Director Mabel Murray says, "Most of the businesses on this platform can connect back to the grassroots which means they will be able to carry out the traceability process right through to the end consumer."

The total project costs $770,000 with Te Puni Kokiri and the businesses contributing around 55 percent.  The balance is covered by New Zealand Trade Enterprise, NZ Post, AsureQuality and Poutama Trust.

Mahuta says "This is only the beginning.  If it is a success as far as I am aware there is the opportunity for other companies to participate."

National’s Māori Development spokesman Nuk Korako says, "I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Māori Businesses but this reflects a lot of the work that was done over the last three to five years under the National government."

The site launched today but the brand's story is expected to be launched in Shanghai come November.