How much do you know about Māori? Actually I am not that much neither.
To my surprise, the Māori language share quite a number of similarities with the Malay language, like ika – ikan, tangi – nangis, taringa – telinga, rua – dua, rima – lima, rangit – langit, and etc. Linguists believe that the Malay and Māori language belong in the category of ‘Austronesian Languages’, having the common origin thousands of years ago.
The Māori are very particular about their culture and etiquette too, often having cultural dances and officiations that are interesting to note, like the Te Puoro Maori (Māori music), a cultural performance that integrates dance, poetry and song (Waiata).
The Māori economy is estimated to be worth of $42 billion and contributes $11 billion to New Zealand GDP. Seven Māori business leaders visited Malaysia and the wider region lately from 13-18 May 2017 to explore, build and extend economic relationships. The business leaders from the food and beverage, dairy, seafood and tourism sectors made connection with government and business leaders in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Singapore.
The Māori business and cultural mission kicked off with the Taste New Zealand Food Fair at Jaya Grocer, The Starling Mall. Taste New Zealand is a highly anticipated Food Fair featuring over 150 products including 30 new products from New Zealand – among some of the brands featured include The Collective Dairy, Whittaker’s, Griffin’s and Rockit Apple Snacks. It is the perfect platform to get public know more about the Māori’s products and produces.
Insterested to try some of their good quality products? You can still visit the Taste New Zealand Food Fair (click here for details) at all Jaya Grocer outlets from 3 May to 21 May 2017.
“Malaysia is one of our top 10 trading partners and the visit coincides with this year marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Malaysia. Our two countries have a history of friendly and constructive links and our relationship continues to grow. We have strong ties in trade, security and education, and we want to build on our strengths in areas like food and beverage which offers huge potential to consumers,” said Mr Matt Ritchie, New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei.
“Māori place great importance on relationships. The Māori business leaders visiting Malaysia are seeking to forge enduring partnerships and to reconnect and strengthen existing relationships with their Malaysian counterparts,” he continued.
Founder of Storiiu, Brian Tan, New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia, John Subritzky, Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell, New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei, Matt Ritchie, and Chairman of Miraka Dairies, Kingi Similer (left to right).
The delegation then witnessed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing between Miraka and Storiiu, a new food distribution business started by brother and sister, Brian and Chemmy Tan. Miraka is New Zealand’s first Māori-owned dairy processor and it is a fast-growing operator in New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar dairy-processing industry. The term ‘Miraka’ is Māori for “milk”. Eighty percent of its shareholders are whanau trusts and corporations.
80% owned by Maori trusts and incorporations, Miraka (www.miraka.co.nz) is New Zealand’s only Maori majority-owned and controlled dairy company. Located in Mokai, 30km northwest of Taupo in New Zealand’s central North Island, Miraka is unique within the dairy industry. Using sustainable and renewable geothermal energy, state-of-the art manufacturing processes, Miraka has the power and capacity to process more than 250,000,000 litres of milk into powders and UHT products every year.
Representatives from Fonterra attended the re-opening of Fonterra’s milk powder manufacturing plant (Susumas) earlier. Fonterra is New Zealand’s largest investor in Malaysia and is well known for its portfolio of consumer and foodservice brands such as Anlene, Anmum, Anchor and Fernleaf.
As New Zealand’s largest company, and the world’s biggest dairy processer and exporter, Fonterra plays a big role in putting New Zealand on the map globally. Around 40% of the products Fonterra produces (more than 100 types) in Malaysia are exported to 13 countries in South East Asia and the Middle East. The manufacturing sites in Susumas and Dairymas produce more than 46,000 metric tonnes of powdered and liquid dairy products each year, bringing high quality dairy nutrition to millions of Malaysians each day.
More photos at FOOD Malaysia facebook page, a Malaysian food & lifestyle blogger since 2010.