Empowering Māori and Pasifika Businesses: Driving Regional Development Through Social Procurement

View from the entrance to the Te Manawaroa Room doors of the University of Waikato, the location of the successful Amotai: Meet the Buyers event.

Amotai: Meet the Buyers – a social procurement event earlier this month that brought Māori and Pasifika businesses in Bay of Plenty to connect with key organisations for government contract opportunities and business support

Held at the University of Waikato Tauranga Campus and sponsored by Priority One in collaboration with Amotai, the event commenced with a keynote address by Chief Executive Nigel Tutt. It brought together over 110 “Supplier” businesses, ranging from owner operators to medium-sized businesses, providing an opportunity for establishing Whanaungatanga – the process of building relationships, and Kotahitanga – unity.

Man wearing an Amotai shirt standing outside University of Waikato, representing Amotai at the event.
Representative from Amotai attending the event at the University of Waikato.

This event was significant given the investment of $1.86 billion dollars in the Bay of Plenty (BoP) region until 2030, providing a unique opportunity for Māori and Pasifika whānau to participate in regional development.

The event was attended by key “buyers”, including HEB, Fulton Hogan, Tauranga City Council, and GHD, amongst others. They directly engaged with Māori and Pasifika Suppliers to support them in delivering local and/or central government contracts.

The event provided an excellent platform for exploring creative and innovative ways of collaboration to achieve greater social impact, and facilitated a shift away from traditional and outdated procurement methods. Instead, fostering a deeper understanding of the meaningful contributions social procurement can have on the local business community of Tauranga Moana.

To promote local business, catering was entirely supplied by local Māori and Pasifika businesses, including refreshments such as Roa Kombucha and Wai Manuka.

The evening was filled with a warm and supportive vibe, accompanied by a special kapa haka performance by Tauranga Intermediate School, with the businesses contributing to their fundraising efforts for Kapa Haka nationals. The night was successful with eight Māori/Pasifika businesses securing contracts on the night.

A group of guests attending the Amotai: Meet the Buyers event, gathered around a tables filled with local food, while a group of young students from the Tauranga Intermediate Kapa Haka group perform.
Guests enjoying local cuisine and Kapa haka performance by Tauranga Intermediate School at the event.