Tū Kotahi, Kōkiri Tahi

Stand in unity, move forward as one.

Let's stand with our Māori business owners.
Ko Tāmati Rākena te kaitito o tēnei whakatauākī #TūKotahiKōkiriTahi

Being a small business owner is tough right now, and at this time it is easy to feel like all things Māori are under attack.

Numerous pakihi Māori have shared with us stories ranging from passive aggression and unconscious bias, to anti-Māori sentiments and outright racism.

These include stories of:

Increased online and social media vitriol (unfortunately this is almost the norm for many of us)

Business owners harassed or questioned at trade events about proudly declaring they’re Māori owned

Accusations that being a Māori business owner makes you an ‘elite Māori’ (what does that even mean?)

Ignorant rants against our retail and hospitality whānau

Some of our whānau questioning if they should ‘hide’ the fact they’re Māori owned when bidding for business.

In 2024, these stories are equally sad and enough to make your blood boil!

Here at Whāriki, we're not immune from abuse - below is an actual email we received in December 2023 in reply to our monthly pānui.

An email received by Whāriki in 2023

We want to flip this negativity and call upon all of us to stand with our Māori business owners. Let's tell our positive stories as we continue to see our people winning in business. Let's remind them that we love their mahi, respect the grind, and celebrate their journey and achievements.  

How to support others

Here are some simple ways you can show your support for other pakihi Māori

Use your social media platforms to tautoko your favoruite pakihi Māori. Show them some love by leaving some positive kupu, sharing a story, or even a simple follow. We all need some positivity right now.

Be conscious with how you're shopping. Buy from Māori businesses when you can. You can use the Whāriki directory to help find pakihi Māori.

Be there for each other. As a business owner, if you're feeling overwhelmed, reach out to other business owners, a mentor, a trusted confidant, or anyone else in your circle who "gets that pakihi life." Don't forget, you are your businesses most valuable asset - you need to take care of yourself too.

Keep turning up for each other. Tautoko each other's kaupapa, events, market days, promotions and product launches. Show the haters, the racists, and the ignorant that together we are stronger and more resilient.

Supporting others in public

Standing up to racism can be a powerful sign of your support. Being harassed in public is a lonely experience, especially when multiple people witness it and don’t step in.

Before you respond, always assess the situation and never put yourself at risk.

Responding to racism in public can be as simple as “why don’t you just leave him/her alone?”

Showing your support for the victim can make the perpetrator think about their actions and show them that their behaviour is not acceptable.

If you can’t say something when someone experiencing racism at the time, sit or stand with them and check if they’re okay.

Offer to accompany them to make a complaint.

How to report racism

Report racism when you see it. Racism has severe health and economic consequences for businesses experiencing it and it is damaging to social cohesion.

Netsafe has a free and confidential service for people experiencing online bullying, abuse or harassment.

The Human Right Commission can help with complaints if the racism you’re experiencing breaches the Human Rights Act.

Report to the social media platforms. Meta (Facebook and Instagram), SnapChat, TikTok, X and Linkedin have functions to report racist content or harassment.

Where to go for support

Call or text 1737 to speak to a counsellor anytime of the day or night.

Lifeline call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 to speak with a qualified counsellor or highly trained volunteer.

Family Services helpline call 0800 211 211 for help finding community-based health and social support services in your area.

Youthline call 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or webchat www.youthline.co.nz to talk to a trained counsellor.


Ibrahim, M. (2022). Cyber-Racism and Higher Education Minority Students in Aotearoa New Zealand. The University of Canterbury. Christchurch, New Zealand.

Ministry of Health. (2023). Racial Discrimination 2011/12, 2016/17 and 2020/21: New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health, PO Box 5013, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.

O’Connell-Rapira, L. et al. (2018). People’s Report on Online Hate, Harassment and Abuse. Retrieved from https://actionstation.org.nz/publications

Rankine, J. (2014). Creating Effective Anti Racism Campaigns. Retrieved from https://www.trc.org.nz/media-research/creating-effective-anti-racism-campaigns/

Satherly, N., & Sibley, C. (2018). Modern Racism toward Māori Scale. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 47(2), p6.

The Disinformation Project. (2023). Race and Rage: Examining Rising Anti-Māori Racism and White Supremacist Ideologies in Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.thedisinfoproject.org

The Human Rights Commission. (ND). Racism and Harmful Speech. Retrieved from https://tikatangata.org.nz/