Internationalisation of Maori businesses in the creative industry sector : ko te rerenga o te toki a tu, he whare oranga : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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The aim of this thesis was to study how Maori businesses in the creative industries internationalise products and services. Sub-topics also investigated were the motivators and drivers, the types of support received and the challenges associated with exporting. The exporter, not yet exporter and non-exporter formed the three groups for this study. A mixed-method approach utilising a postal survey and indepth face-to-face interviews provided the data and results for the main findings. Ten themes emerged from the survey results and assisted with interpreting the interviews. An original koru framework was presented throughout the thesis to portray the findings as they evolved. Networking was identified as the preferred internationalisation approach in this study. Of the ten themes, the uniqueness of a product was the most important driver to exporting. Maori tikanga was also relevant as a Maori business driver and presented challenges when Maori principles were incorporated with everyday mainstream practices. Maori tikanga was the only theme specific to the Maori participants, whereas the other nine aspects are likely to pertain to non- Maori businesses in this sector. “Strong” and “weak” ties were integral to the participants’ support infrastructure. However, government and its agencies were considered as being unhelpful to the smaller firm. Finance and exporting costs, followed by a lack of government assistance and incentives were the main export challenges for the participants. Another challenge for exporters were in finding suitable agents, contacts and distributors, whereas fluctuating exchange and interest rates were a problem for the not yet exporting group. A recommendation for Maori businesses is to continue creating unique products and to target international niche markets. Government needs to reassess their support policies and provide initiatives especially appropirate to micro and small businesses in the creative industries. There is also a need for government export agencies to better understand and market the uniqueness that Maori and their products offer to the international arena.
Small business, Maori, Creative industry, Internationalisation