Maori cuisine cluster eyes offshore markets

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Chilli sauce-maker Kaitaia Fire is one of about 20 Maori businesses that have combined to form IndigenousNZ Cuisine. Photo / Supplied
Chilli sauce-maker Kaitaia Fire is one of about 20 Maori businesses that have combined to form IndigenousNZ Cuisine. Photo / Supplied

A group of Maori food and drinks businesses have joined forces to improve their chances of selling authentic Kiwi products both at home and overseas.

The IndigenousNZ Cuisine cluster was so far made up of 19 businesses, inspired by Maori business development organisation Poutama.

With products like kina pate and paua relish on the menu, the cluster was particularly focused on gaining access to overseas markets, said Poutama business adviser Vonese Walker.

"They were all really keen to look at how they could collaborate into one brand, for the purpose of looking at marketing offshore," she said.

Combing resources and expertise would allow members to reduce costs and better promote their products to the food and beverage sector.

"Some have already done well at a local level and are looking forward to how they can move offshore. There are a lot of varying strategies for development."

Markets like Australia, China and Hong Kong were in the group's sights, with market activity already underway there.

Member Gloria Viitakangas from Aotearoa Breweries said coming together would allow for better marketing and distribution.

"It's very expensive for small businesses to market themselves as a company so the benefits for operating as a cluster can help push the niche products into the market."

Another member was well-known hot chilli sauce maker Kaitaia Fire, which could share its experience of already exporting to eighteen countries.

Owner Garry Sommerville said, for Kaitaia Fire, joining the cluster was about building the three Cs: credibility, critical mass, and cash.

"It's also that they have very good contacts and are approaching things from a different angle, with the indigenous New Zealand brand.

"It's a case of the more arrows in the quiver the better."

Other members of IndigenousNZ Cuisine included Chatham Islands Food Co, wineries Ostler Wines and Tiki Wines, and non-alcoholic beverages Ti Tonics and Taha Beverages.

Toku Foods with its paua relish and Apatu Aqua with its smoked fish and kina pate were also signed up.

The cluster aimed to be a one-stop-shop where potential buyers could see a wide range of products in a short time.

Walker said there were another 20-30 businesses in line to join the cluster once their products had been developed and brought to market.

There was no cost to join but producers would be responsible for supporting the joint initiatives of the collective, at shows and events for example.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 02 Aug 2014 11:04:31 Processing Time: 510ms