Sharing information on utilising land as an economic resource was the aim of a conference at the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development. It’s an initiative run by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, who have brought eight Pacific nations to meet with Waikato-Tainui.
The day's proceedings began at Rangiriri Paa. The conversations ranged from the land wars to land prosperity, with Māori leading the way.
Cook Islands representative Tamaroatemu Okotai told Te Ao Māori News, “For all of us Islanders and other indigenous people around the world, we look at Māori and the success of their renaissance.”
Eight different Pacific Island countries were represented at the gathering in the hope that the experience will be taken back to the islands.
Fiji High Commissioner Filimone Waqabaca says, “The fellow Pacific Islanders that I represented today are mainly resources owners. There is a lot that we can take from the experiences of the iwi here, of New Zealand, the Māori, especially the commercial ventures.”
“I'm sure that the information that we will get in this two-day event will go a long way to motivating and encouraging our resource owners to turn their resources into commercial ventures.”
Māori have long been entrepreneurs, with various land-related business interests.
Co-operative business endeavours have also worked well for Māori, something these leaders would like to see happen between Pacific nations.
Managing Director from Ikana Holdings Limited, Benson Nablu says, "I think the connection with people, the Māori and other people from the Pacific, is one of the keys- so we can start communication with each other.”
The conference will continue until Thursday.