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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
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.