FOMA 32 Conference Closing Speech

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E tangihia ana ō tātou tini mate, e ngā mate, whakangaro atu rā! Kua huri te kei o te waka ki te waka, arā ki te waka a Māui Māui Tikitiki, Māui Pōtiki Māui me tōna waka i tū ai a Māui Tiktiki a Tāranga Whakatu tō kainga ki te kōhanga o te matangi āwhio Whakatū me ōna iwi, tū mai rā, tū mai rā, e te mana whenua o Wakatū tēnā koutou katoa. Ngāti Rārua tēnā koutou Ngāti Koata tēnā koutou Ngāti Kuia tēnā koutou Ngāti Tama tēnā koutou Te Āti Awa tēnā koutou Rangitāne o Wairau tēnā koutou Ngāti Toa Rangatira tēnā koutou.

Otirā, koutou katoa, ngā awa whakatere taniwhā, ngā maunga kore nekeneke, e ngā waka, e ngā mana, e ngā reo E kui mā, e koro mā, kei aku iti kei aku rahi Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa!

Acknowledgements: Chair of FOMA Traci Houpapa and Deputy Chair Liz Mellish, tēnā kōrua, Minister of the Crown, Hon Nanaia Māhuta tēnā koe, Member of Parliament, Harete Hipango, Your Excellencies, the Mayors of Tasman and Wellington, tēnā kōrua, distinguished guests, tēnā koutou katoa.

It’s a privilege to be here this evening, and it’s been great to be in Nelson over the past two days, seeing the full range of Maoridom covering so many parts of kiwi-life.

Yesterday I spent the day meeting some exporters such as Tohu wine and Pics peanut butter, and today I see that the programme today has covered an incredibly wide range of topics – everything from climate change, to land, to trade and economics, to leadership.

I’ve been really struck by the breadth and depth of Maori business. And I start by saying that, because as Dr Ganesh said this morning you do not happen to be Maori business owners, or Maori in business.

You are Maori Business, built on your values system – i heke iho mai i ōu mātua tūpuna – values of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, kotahitanga, māramatanga, and rangatiratanga.

And you have strong connections into all aspects of the New Zealand economy, the New Zealand Government, and of course internationally.

And that’s great, because it’s what I wanted to talk to you about tonight – the importance of values-driven trading relationships and how they can enhance our overall UK/ Maori relationship.

When I first started trying to learn te reo, back in London, my wonderful teacher Rahera – who spent her days working at Kiwi-Oz nannies, and once a week came to Westminster of an evening to teach me the reo – taught me a whakatauki that I that I particularly liked:

Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

Which, as you all know better than me translates as “With your basket and my basket the people will prosper”.

And that spirit of co-operation is of course the essence of trade. The more trade there is within and between countries, the better it is for everyone.

Trade is good not just because it builds prosperity, and not just because it fosters innovation, and technological and social advances — but also because of the connections it fosters.

Trade builds connections and understanding between communities and countries. It builds community cohesion, and – at the international level – between countries, thereby increasing peace and stability, and decreasing the risk of conflict.

Overall UK/ Maori Relationship

The UK and Maori have an incredibly long history. In a little more than a week we will be marking the 250th anniversary of British explorer James Cook coming to New Zealand for the first time, and the first encounters between the UK and Maori.

And I will be visiting Tūranga Gisborne to mark this occasion – recognising that to move forwards, and build a better future, you also need to look to the past.

But our relationship has evolved since then, through many twists and turns over the past 250 years.

And as the British High Commissioner in 2019, and as someone with an enduring affection for and connection with New Zealand (not to mention a kiwi husband and three kiwi kids), I could not be more clear on the importance of the UK building its relationships with Maoridom into a real, enduring partnership.

To me, an authentic people to people bilateral relationship with Aotearoa requires a partnership with iwi and hapū Māori, huri noa.

That is a key focus and top priority for my time as High Commissioner: to build the relationship with Maoridom – acknowledging that we are starting from a low base, acknowledging that we have much to learn – and to lay the foundations for a flourishing and forward looking partnership.

And of course a key part of that partnership will be enhancing our economic and trading partnerships.

UK/ Maori Trading relationship

Both the UK and Māori have a long history of trading. You have long been innovative, outward focussed, nourishing your whānau and whenua through trade partnerships.

When I look back in history I see this including supplying Australian and Pacific markets with goods using Māori ships and flour mills.

Fast forward to today, and there have been some incredible stats used during this conference to show the breadth and depth of Maori businesses – 50% fishing quotas/ 30% lamb/ beef production 10% of kiwifruit.

And as part of this you play an increasingly important role in NZ agriculture and horticulture and seafood exports to the UK.

Now I regularly see reports of what the Māori economy is worth – with figures around NZD50bn, all of which I would say are certainly under-estimates. These figures fail in two ways:

  • They don’t capture the increasing trade and diversification to new ares like tourism, culture, fashion and cosmetics. Nor the increasing role of Maori in R&D and development of the products of the future.

  • Nor the fact that you are Maori Businesses, applying and living through your values in all that you do – ā whānau, ā pakihi, ā hapū, ā iwi, ā Māori.

The UK too has been a trading country for 100s of years, where we have seen our values of free trade as the way to bring economic benefit to all. This began with our first free trade agreement – with France in 1860, that led to many others across Europe and beyond.

And in the 20th century we helped design and create the architecture of global trade, and helped shape the international organisations that enable trade across international borders. The WTO, the EU single market and EU drive for ambitious trade agreements.

And as much as we helped shape the global trading system, it also shaped the UK.

You can see it in our railways, our ports, the former cotton mills of northern England, the docks of London and the people who came to build, work and trade in and with the UK. It has made us the diverse, internationally engaged country that we are today.


And that brings me to Brexit. You will doubtless know that in 2016 we voted to leave the European Union, with our Prime Minister now committed to this happening on 31st October.

Now I won’t go into the colourful detail of British politics here. That’s a different speech for a different occasion. But I do want to say that our EU Exit won’t lead to an isolationist UK. We aren’t turning in on ourselves and erecting trade barriers.


Rather, leaving the EU frees us to make a much stronger stand for free trade at the WTO and on the world stage. To agree new trade deals with new partners.

Just in this past week in New York our Prime Ministers jointly announced “their shared commitment to agree an ambitious free trade deal after the UK leaves the EU” And it’s my job here to help deliver that agreement.

I want to see a UK/ NZ free trade agreement deliver three things:

  1. Enhance the existing nearly $6bn trading relationship between both our countries. Ensuring UK consumers can continue to enjoy consuming more Kiwi legs of lamb and wine than any other country. And that New Zealand continues to enjoy our landrovers, UK built Nissan Qashqais, Optare electric buses on the streets of Wellington, and the odd wee dram of Scotch.

  2. Build new standards for the international trading opportunities of the future. Taking the opportunities presented by digital developments to enhance the services trade between our two countries in particular. It is here that I believe we can go the further in finding innovative ways to grow trade between the New Zealand and Maori and British businesses of the future in areas such as tech and the wider digital industries.

  3. Re-inforce our shared values, for instance on climate change. In the international space we have the UK host-designate for COP26 – the next major climate change conference. And the recent NZ announcement to break down trade barriers on environmental goods. Closer to home Damien O’Connor and others have spoken today about the challenges of enabling continuing agricultural growth alongside managing the effects of climate change and environmental damage. Now we talk about that in a policy space but as Māori, with whakapapa to the whenua, moana and te taiāo, practices of kaitiakitanga are an embedded and inherent part of your Māoritanga. This approach reflects a long term, intergenerational vision of your tamariki and mokopuna living and flourishing – as Māori – in a healthy world. And we all of us have a huge amount to learn from that.

Maori FTA Commitment

Like the New Zealand Government, I also want the process leading to our FTA, and the FTA itself to benefit Maori and Maori business.

We will work as closely as possible with Maoridom and the New Zealand Government to ensure we fully understand and incorporate the interests of Maoridom into our FTA – right from the early stages of negotiations.

It is important that our FTA helps realise your aspirations – as Māori, for Māori – for your business, your whānau, and your rangatira of tomorrow.

And so I encourage you to engage with us and the New Zealand government too. What would a successful UK/ NZ FTA mean to your business, your iwi, your hapū, and your whānau.

And what more could we be doing – now and under our current trading arrangements – to increase two-way trade? Please do reach out and tell us.


We have had an incredibly long history together, stretching back almost 250 years. And I/ the UK want the closest possible relationship with Aotearoa New Zealand.

That means with both Pākeha and Māori, with the Crown and with all the Iwi of Aotearoa.

My time here in Nelson, and the warm welcome we have received, is helping as we strive to build our understanding of Te Ao Maori, build relationships with iwi and hapū, cultural associations and trade networks – and to forge a future relationship together, beneficial to both our countries and all our people. And so I come back to where I started:

Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

Nōreira, I runga I te pono, I te aroha, I te rangimarie E mihi atu ana Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora mai tātou katoa.

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