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Three ministers to speak at Maori conference

Three ministers to speak at Maori conference

The future for Maori land-based industries is bright, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton, Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, and Associate Regional Development Minister Dover Samuels said today.

The three ministers are speaking at Te Ohu Whenua hui-a-tau at Massey University tomorrow.

The two-day conference showcases Maori development and business in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors, offers practical information for Maori involved in farming, forestry horticulture and business. As well as the ministers, other presenters include farmers, researchers, growers, consultants, industry and commercial representatives and Maori land managers.

Mr Horomia said that the hui was a follow-on from a previous conference last year.

"The aim is to make the conference an annual event where those working in these sectors can come together to network and gain exposure to the latest research as well as become familiar with the education sectors of the agricultural industries."

Mr Sutton said Maori working in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry worked in the most important industry within New Zealand.

"If Maori farmers and foresters are not tapping the full economic potential of their land, not only do they suffer directly by this, but New Zealand as a whole is poorer."

Mr Samuels said Te Ohu Whenua hui-a-tau was an opportunity to take stock of the success of Maori in the primary sectors.

"Forums like Te Ohu Whenua, Hui Taumata and the Regional Development conference are a meaningful way of identifying what the impediments are to our growth and the ways we need to deal with them."

Mr Samuels said "We know that the New Zealand economy benefits from the positive contribution of Maori across the economy and I want to acknowledge that, and I also want to see our success being built upon."

The ministers said Te Ohu Whenua hui-a-tau was an important meeting for Maori working in land-based industries and the country as a whole.

"Maori land is a significant part of the land available for agriculture, horticulture, and forestry use. So, it's important that Maori landowners are able to fully achieve their potential. Meetings such as this one are a useful way to help that process."

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