Photo / File
A new initiative to "strengthen economic empowerment" for indigenous peoples has been announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Trade Minister Damien O’Connor.
“Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to inclusive trade and economic growth for all, including Indigenous Peoples," Mahuta said in a statement Friday.
"The Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA) is a first of its kind plurilateral arrangement that will enable economies and Indigenous Peoples to work effectively together.”
The announcement follows the New Zealand Foreign Minister's recent 17-day world trip which included discussions about "deepening links" between Māori and Canada's indigenous peoples.
“This arrangement is an important step towards harnessing the unique potential of Indigenous Peoples and creating connections amongst these communities," she said.
Economies who join the initiative will commit to supporting "critical areas of importance to Indigenous People," Mahuta said. These include "growing economic prosperity and preserving Indigenous values and cultural knowledge."
The Trade Minister added that the initiative would "unlock" indigenous potential.
“Indigenous Peoples have a long and rich history of trading and commerce, which this arrangement will build upon," O’Connor said.
"Unlocking the economic potential of Indigenous economies to enable more effective trade and addressing some of the key challenges that Indigenous Peoples face, will be a focus of the IPETCA," he said.