The role of publicly funded enterprise assistance in Māori entrepreneurship in Aotearoa New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business
Maori entrepreneurship in relation to enterprise assistance is rarely subject to academic
enquiry, inhibiting theoretical development. This thesis examines the role of publicly funded
enterprise assistance in Maori entrepreneurship in Aotearoa New Zealand. Publicly funded
enterprise assistance includes formalised business support—financial and nonfinancial—
offered by government. Kaupapa Maori research is the overriding research epistemology, with
Western pragmatism integrated within this. The thesis is critical, inductive and exploratory,
using interviews for data collection.
The thesis finds that Maori entrepreneurship is an expression of Maori selfdetermination,
Maori potentiality, and substantive freedom. Maori entrepreneurship
contributes to Maori development in terms of social, cultural, economic, environmental and
spiritual outcomes. Maori entrepreneurs proudly identify with being Maori and doing business
in a Maori way, predicated upon principles of duality, collectivism, permanence and
intergenerationality. Maori enterprises are mainly defined by Maori ownership, values, assets
and institutions, and represent the organisational context of Maori entrepreneurship.
The thesis suggests that publicly funded enterprise assistance serves three roles in
Maori entrepreneurship: (i) satisfying firm-level business needs; (ii) building Maori
entrepreneurial capabilities; and, (iii) enabling Maori enterprises to develop. A conceptual
model of Maori enterprise assistance is developed that illustrates the relationship between
Maori entrepreneurship and enterprise assistance. The thesis suggests principles for enterprise
assistance design based on an ideal delivery model. Strong support for the role of government
in public enterprise assistance for Maori entrepreneurship is evident. Tribes also have a role
in this, but are not to be viewed as a substitute for the government’s role.