Tribal Economies

Honey, meat, climate change and resilience: indigenous trade and global issues on the table in Dubai


President Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui Sheena Maru presents to Te Aratini at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo / Supplied (Te Aratini)

Honey, meat, climate change and resilience were all on the table when a collective of Maori farmers of over 9,000 shareholders traveled to Expo 2020 Dubai to forge new relationships with indigenous leaders of the whole world.

Outgoing Ä€tihau-Whanganui Incorporation President Mavis Mullins said the exhibition’s Te Aratini Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas, led by iwi, was an opportunity to explore solutions to trade and other issues global.

Te Aratini – a world first for indigenous peoples at a global trade fair – has proven to be a revolutionary forum for sharing knowledge, forging networks and exploring potential markets for honey and red meat products from the incorporation, she said.

“There were lots of opportunities to come together, whether it was issues of revitalizing culture, reo, or whether it was economies of scale or the economy of a tribal entity, ”Mullins said.

“I definitely had a great opportunity for Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation, especially exploring options for honey and red meat.

“What highlights all of this is the cultural understanding and respect that existed with the Maori and the Emirates. We have more discussions going on.”

Mullins was a speaker at a number of panel discussions at the three-day international forum.

Indigenous thought, and in particular the views of the Whanganui River tribes, have taken center stage on the world stage in Dubai, with the New Zealand Pavilion built around the country’s recognition of Te Awa’s legal rights. Tupua (the Whanganui River and its tributaries). Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui president Sheena Maru was also a presenter at the Te Aratini festival in November.

Ä€tihau-Whanganui Incorporation is one of the largest farmers in the country, with 70,000 sheep, 4,000 beef cows, 700 dairy cows and 3,000 beehives on 42,000 hectares of farmland from Ohakune to Whanganui.

Mullins said the Middle East mānuka honey market is virtually inundated and a point of tangible difference for the Ātihau-Whanganui product would be needed to close any gap.

“We’re exploring this. We’ve had some interesting discussions about it. Ä€tihau-Whanganui is now approved as organic for a lot of our product. It’s about history and verifying history. We have does a lot of work in this space already.

“Do we have a product that can differentiate itself? May be. From my perspective, nothing is rushed – we’ve taken a first step, we’re building a relationship, making sure we understand what they want, when they want it, how they want it. want it, then see if it’s something we can achieve. “

Mullins said that supplying red meat processed according to halal requirements to Muslim markets is a great potential opportunity for Ātihau-Whanganui, but the time is not yet right.

“There are challenges right now: the global logistics infrastructure is broken, getting in and out of containers is difficult,” Mullins said.

“The timing might not be right, but you don’t want to pass up any opportunity without looking and understanding what this larger ecosystem looks like. Some of those cultural elements are totally untapped.

“But it’s not just about business and transactional opportunities, it’s about global solutions. It’s not just about going out there and making a deal, it’s about understanding the culture, to respect people, to get to know them.

“Whether it’s climate change, resilience or whānau, there is a lot of mātauranga (knowledge) that has not been brought to light.”