Dion Tuuta, chief executive of one of the key stakeholders, Parininihi ki Waitotara Incorporation, agrees: “Māori collaboration works well because despite all of the differences that we have as individual iwi and Māori businesses – and there are differences – we ultimately share the same fundamental values base, characterised by a long term outlook, that helps us view the industry in its proper context."
Tom McClurg, director of Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Asset Holding Company, says the partnership “strikes the right balance between iwi independence, where it's wanted, and iwi co-operation where it's needed".
“I believe the decision to come together now has been driven by an increasing awareness of the collective power of Māori in the industry and how leveraging this strength can create greater value for Māori," he says.
For Maru Samuels, general manager of the Iwi Collective Partnership, collaboration has allowed their organisation to “participate in an opportunity that would have otherwise taken 20 years to achieve on our own".
“It's consistent with other concepts of whānau, whakapapa and manaakitanga - what can essentially be summed up in the universal concept of 'family'. There is a common perception that it means an untenable loss of control but we believe the opposite."
Earlier this year, Absalom got to see where New Zealand's lobster ended up, as part of an ANZ-sponsored trip to Shanghai and Taipei aimed at giving clients an insight into how to do business in China.
“During the week's trip we met with NZTE Trade Commissioners and ANZ staff who helped pinpoint opportunities for us," he said. “It gave me a much better understanding of how China works and we're still talking to three of the contacts I made over there which will hopefully lead to new markets."
Sharon Stephenson is a freelance journalist