Mahuta to promote indigenous ties and perspectives in Chile

By Talisa Kupenga

Promoting indigenous and business links between New Zealand and Chile will be the focus of Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta during a trip to Chile, where she has been invited to be the keynote speaker at a women's indigenous conference this week.

"We can help grow the opportunities for indigenous business and companies in their lands.  We want to strengthen these avenues," says the minister.

Mahuta will meet with the Polynesian indigenous people of Rapa Nui as well as the Mapuche population, the largest indigenous population of Chile, to share the experience and value of Māori economic and social development.

"Although we have policy that helps Māori we know there is much more to be done, which is also the case in Chile."

Chilean president Sebastián Piñera visited New Zealand in November 2018, in the lead-up to Chile hosting APEC 2019. 

Mahuta will also talk with representatives about the countries' shared ambition to focus the APEC economies' attention on indigenous issues.

"I understand that there are trade platform opportunities for Māori and the indigenous people there to collaborate and build great outcomes.  One of the key areas looks to be agriculture," she says.

The minister will also name a pou whakairo in central Santiago carved by the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and gifted to Chile at the time of the visiting Tuku Iho exhibition in 2015.

Mahuta leaves Tuesday and returns Sunday.