New announcement. Learn more


Open the door from the inside

If we had a dollar for every time a business told us they’ve tried knocking on a ‘Buyers’ door and can’t get their foot in it, we’d be rolling in it.

Trying to get a foot in the door with Buyers can be hard work and the doors often seem like they are absolutely bolted shut. There are plenty of capable Māori and Pasifika businesses that cannot seem to catch a break.

The thing is, Buyer doors can only be opened from the inside so as procurers, we need to intentionally open the door.

‘Opening the front door’ is a term we use to describe how to break down the barriers and engage meaningfully with Māori and Pasifika businesses.

It means giving a Māori and/or Pasifika business the time of day to talk with them about their capability and capacity to deliver on works you need delivered.

It means presenting quality opportunities to suppliers you perhaps haven’t used before. Quality opportunities are important. Using a hangi cooker for a one-off event during Māori language week, and not doing anything else during the year is tokenism.

Opening the front door means identifying the projects that could be used to pilot different tactics to diversify your spend.

It means trialing and testing different things to see what works to support Māori and Pasifika businesses to be successful within your organisation.

Where can you start?

  • Understand your baseline

Collate data on your current spend with Māori and/or Pasifika businesses. Using this data, you can think about some realistic supplier diversity goals for your organisation. You can also identify which businesses you already work with, that are Māori and/or Pasifika owned.

  • Find the low hanging fruit

Look for contract opportunities within the organisation which are low risk, and you know there is a great supply of highly capable Māori and/or Pasifika businesses.

  • Give it a go

Start small and follow through to the end. You don’t need to start with a multi-million-dollar project, it could be as small as thinking about who has the contract for providing your facilities maintenance, or event planning, or signage and business cards, or even your videography (but don't let that be a reason to stop you going for the big projects).

  • Look at your pipeline of works

For some organisations, like those in construction for example, the pipeline of projects can be quite clear and you will have a fair idea of what subcontracting opportunities will come up. Think about these and meet with some businesses before they go out to potential subbies.

  • Celebrate the successes

Everyone loves a good success story. Once you have some wins, talk about your good work. Show others in your organisation how it works and what it takes.

  • Reflect on learnings to inform policy We are big advocates for piloting before or during policy development. If you wait for the perfect policy before you take action, you could be waiting a very long time. Plus, it's always helpful to have practical experience and examples to help inform policy development.

Where will you start?