We help organisations build Māori and Pacific cultural capabilities, inclusive leadership and effective communications.

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Kia ora and Talofa, my name is Iulia Leilua, director of the Brown Pages.

I developed my business to help people have more meaningful engagement with Māori and Pacific peoples.

Meaningful engagement means better partnerships with Māori and Pacific peoples, improved communication, mutual trust, pride and a more productive and inclusive society that helps to reduce poverty.

Perceptions about the importance of Māori and Pacific cultural awareness are changing but my mission is to empower business managers, SME owners, central/local government leaders and not for profit executives to go deeper.

Many have diversity and inclusion policies but it’s the inclusion part that needs further work.

How does cultural intelligence benefit the workplace?

Creating inclusive work practices requires cultural intelligence. This is important when recruiting, training and retaining Māori and Pacific employees. It also helps with external challenges such as engaging with iwi and Pacific communities.

The first time I observed cultural gaps in the workplace was in the mid-1980s – when a Māori phone operator was threatened with dismissal by the NZ Post Office for greeting people with the words “Kia Ora”.

Naida Glavish became the centre of national debate, which resulted in ‘Kia Ora’ becoming an acceptable form of greeting for toll operators. It also highlighted the gaps in cultural sensitivity and understanding about Māori.

How do you manage cultural gaps that still exist in the workplace?

Fast forward to today, some of those cultural gaps I saw during the 80s and 90s still exist today. Even though there are Māori and Pacific cultural advisors and statutory obligations for government departments to consult, Māori or Pacific communities. They include:

    • Misunderstandings
    • Bias
    • Cultural ignorance and insensitivity
    • Lack of awareness of indigenous practices and lifestyle
    • Differences in worldview
    • Different decision-making styles
    • Different approaches to closure (of tasks, of agreements, of dispute resolution)

Embracing cultural practises in your business strategy can help grow a profitable business with Maori and Pacific employees and build relationships with your Māori and Pacific stakeholders. All it requires is motivation, knowledge, strategy and action.

Not only can cultural intelligence improve team proficiency and performance, it can also help you expand into new markets, retain and recruit the right staff, build trust and increase productivity. 

Brown Pages Partners