International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship
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International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson

The comprehensive and thoroughly accessible International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship aims to develop a multidisciplinary theory explaining entrepreneurship as a function of cultural perceptions of opportunity. The Handbook presents a multitude of fascinating, superbly illustrated studies on the facets of entrepreneurship amongst indigenous peoples.
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Chapter 44: The Importance of Traditional Maori Values for Necessity and Opportunity: Maori Entrepreneurs – Iwi-based and Individually Owned

Virginia Warriner


Virginia Warriner Introduction Maori who are the indigenous people of New Zealand are a society that is based on kinship groups, sub-groups or hapu which belong to a larger tribal group or iwi (Merrill, 1954; Walker, 1990; King, 2003). Academics, historians and writers on Maori economic activity considered Maori to be heavily engaged in entrepreneurial business activities even during the pre-European era (Merrill, 1954; Firth, 1972; Waitangi Tribunal, 1988; Belich, 1996; Hawkins, 1999). When the Europeans arrived, early historians in economic disintegration theory (Cumberland, 1960; Wright, 1967) suggested that, as a result of the introduction of European technology, they would see ‘the collapse of Maori traditional values and confidence’, and Maori technology ‘largely destroyed’. However Maori responded to the Europeans’ arrival by adopting western economic ideas and technologies (Frederick, 2000; Potiki, 2004) and, according to Merrill (1954) surprised some with their individual entrepreneurship, as the Maori resource base was essentially perceived to be established on collective principles. Schaniel’s (2001) view further supported the notions that, not only did new European technology generate ‘new opportunities’ for Maori, but it did not lead to the disintegration of that society. Equally recognised today is that there are many Maori entrepreneurs achieving great things (Springall, 2004). For example the Tamaki Brothers, founders of theme parks in Rotorua and Christchurch, have built a successful business centred on Maori beliefs and practices and this follows through in their management style (Greene, 2004). Maori values are based on many principles and the ones that will be...

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