A Northland cultural tutor is offering classes to Northland business people who wish to improve their understanding of Maori culture with a view to doing better business with tangata whenua.

Ellis Bryers, originally from Opononi but now living in Tauranga, said he regularly got requests from non-Maori businesses about how to do work with iwi.

This has led him to starting a company which conducts coaching sessions for businesses, such as the one he is facilitating in Whangarei on Friday.

Bryers coaches business leaders through ceremonial and formal aspects of engaging with iwi and explains the culturally sensitive expectations encounter.


He said fear often stopped Maori and non-Maori from engaging with their new business partners.

"Without understanding, there is a huge amount of fear," he said.

"For Pakeha, it's about approaching business with Maori with the values of a friendship.

"For Maori, it's about forgiveness ... forgiving the sins of the ancestors of the people standing in front of you.

"Without that, you close yourself off from the skill set of these individuals to help achieve the objectives of your people.

"Pakeha are afraid of offending and Maori are afraid of having someone trample on their mana."

Bryers said that with the Ngapuhi settlements looming, "local Maori are set to become serious participants in the Northland and New Zealand economy" and would be looking for investment opportunities that would help grow their assets over time.

He said the training would allow businesspeople to "enter the Maori world with confidence through understanding important cultural nuances, create opportunities to engage with Maori business interests and position businesses to assist Maori to grow their asset base ..."


The course will be delivered by Bryers through businessaotearoa.nz.

-To register and get more information about the course, contact Ellis Bryers on 021 2457600 or email ellis@ellisbryers.com