Economic development director Keith Matthew says having conversations on indigenous history is the first step towards developing a robust indigenous economy.
He is part of a Canadian delegation heading to the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF) in Rotorua this week.
Matthew says, "Indigenous people, we share a common struggle and in that struggle, good things come out like strength, how we create those partnerships that are long-lasting."
WIBF is a major international platform to showcase Māori business, engage indigenous people in global economic discussions and leverage indigenous trade.
Cassandra Dorrington of the Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) says, "People have been underrepresented. It's time for us to sit at the table. The lessons we've had- we want to be able to share those."
Around 1,000 business participants from around the world are expected to attend.
"Wealth is a by-product of being a healthy people. Our language, our culture, our history is our strength like it is for the Māori people, but we want to share that," says Matthew.
The conference will begin in Rotorua tomorrow.