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Māori & Pacific Business: Latin America ReConnect

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We are supporting an intensive programme for Māori and Pacific entrepeneurs to explore opportunities in the Latin America market. We first started this programme in 2020 with a series of awareness-building workshops that took a deep dive into understanding the Colombian, Mexico, and Chilean cultures and markets. We then transitioned to selecting a cohort of Māori and Pacific creative entrepreneurs to support their entry into Mexican and Colombian markets. Through the programme participants are equipped with the cultural and business knowledge needed to enter these markets and build their contacts and networks in the region. This year, we are widening the scope of businesses to include sectors beyond the creative industries. We have partnered with Oyster Workshop (link in column E), a Pacific-led organisation to develop and deliver the programme.

2023 Participants

House of Noa
Pōneke, Wellington
House of Noa are carvers, creating each item by hand including kowhaiwhai (traditional Māori pattern), and heru (head adornments) priding themselves in knowing the origin of each material used to create unique taonga (treasures) connecting them to their shared Pacific history and practice of carving.

Four Shells Kava Lounge
Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland
As the first dedicated kava lounge in Auckland, Four Shells Kava Lounge are passionate about kava (traditional drink sourced from the islands within the Pacific) and the advancement of Pacific people through the community initiatives and cultural workshops they run. This business is keen to learn and prepare for export.

Bo & Ko Baby
Kirikiriroa, Hamilton
Bo & Ko Baby is an e-commerce business, whose kaupapa is about providing Māori and Pacific pepe with cultural products suitable from birth and beyond, to help normalise and celebrate culture within the home. Bo & Ko Baby is seeking opportunities to expand their business and increase in knowledge concerning export.

Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland
Dulve is a health and wellness business who have launched their first hemp milk made with wholefood ingredients. The business has always planned to be a global business with a keen interest to export to Latin America, as one of the directors lived in Mexico, and sees the growing opportunities.

Hine Collection
Kirikiriroa, Hamilton
Hine Collection is a activewear brand that makes a wide range of clothing for women in various sizes for all body shapes, that empowers wāhine (women) in their health and fitness journey. Having not considered export before,this business is open to learning about opportunities in Latin America.

Elizabeth Hellen
Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland
Elizabeth Hellen is a Waiheke based artist that practises the ancient art of plaster moulds with the use of additional elements and focus. She showcases most of her work in exhibits and online. Elizabeth has recently started exporting and is interested to learn more about Latin American cultures through the programme.

2022 Participants

Infamy Apparel
Infamy Apparel was started by Designer Amy Lautogo in 2019. The brand is dedicated to fat advocacy through fashion. Fashion and accessories for fat folx alike. Decolonising our attitudes towards our bodies one person at a time.

Tuhi Stationery
Tuhi Stationery is an Indigenous-owned business, established in 2018 in Auckland. We create bespoke stationery inspired by our language, culture, environment and values. We utilise local printers for 80% of our product range, and offset our shipping and distribution costs via the Pachama emissions programme. We use recyclable and compostable packaging and are a part of the eco packaging alliance. We always look to improve our operations and what we create to ensure our footprint on Papatuanuku is light and sustainable.

Papa Clothing
The relationship between garment and maker is fundamental to Papa and to its customers. The diversity of the Papa customer base across age, size, gender and culture reflects the inclusivity that underpins Papa designs. Inclusivity to us means amplifying the beauty of those that are often marginalised by the fashion industry, especially those within the queer and Pasifika communities that the Papa brand has roots in.

Kālaekkō is a haircare and wellness brand made by melanated people for melanated people in Aotearoa. Being on our own paths of self-discovery lead us to our own ancestry. We learnt more about traditional healers from Polynesia and Africa. It was here when we realised it was important for us to know what went in or on our bodies. That is why one of our biggest aims is for the ingredient’s on our products to be easily read and understood. Keeping it simple. Keeping it natural.

We offer contemporary Māori jewellery, Māori accessories, and Māori home décor. Each piece embodies Māori narratives that are inspired by our taiao (environment) brought to life by contemporary processes to bring a new perspective. Our vision is to help you (re)connect with culture and turangawaewae. To help you feel strong in who you are. To ignite your inner power, authority and expression. To help you feel complete”

Yawye Babies
Born in mid-2020, we are a boutique baby food company striving to deliver creative, nourishing and Indigenous baby food, whilst holding the environment at the forefront of our minds throughout our business. We aspire to become one of NZ’s most trusted baby food company, offering Indigenous meal plans while adopting sustainable practices throughout our business.

An image of the Latin America Oyster Workshop2022 participants

Previous cohorts

To get to know the businesses in our previous cohort, see below:

  • Manini Wear: Pacific Island Inspired Dress & Clothing
  • Lingogo: Language app with Māori and Pacific stories
  • O TE MOTU Creations: kaupapa Māori lead jewellery business looking to create a more conscious and sustainable future
  • Wedding She Wrote: a bespoke wedding experience company specialising in celebrating culture and heritage