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Poutini Ngai Tahu Economic Development Summit

Poutini Ngai Tahu Economic Development Summit .

The West Coast stands to benefit hugely from a two-day economic summit being hosted by Poutini Ngai Tahu in Hokitika on April 1 and 2

Kati Waewae Runaka chairman Ned Tauwhare says Maori hold the ‘key’ to economic development on the West Coast, but need to use it.

The Poutini Ngai Tahu Economic Development Summit aims to do just that and is the brainchild of Kati Waewae and Te Runanga o Maakawhio that are hosting the event.

“Maori own significant land, property, natural and cultural resources throughout the region,” says Mr Tauwhare. “They take part in a wide range of industry and community activities, but need to co-ordinate their participation better for strategic advantage to themselves and the whole West Coast.”

Mr Tauwhare says the environment is one of the coast’s key assets for competitive advantage and has huge potential for tourism, skills training, cultural and heritage development.

“There is great potential for development on Maori and reserve land and this could increase the area of non-conservation land available for economic development in the medium term.”

The summit will bring together leaders in business and commerce that will share their views on stimulating and identifying economic opportunities for all West Coasters. More than 250 people from all sectors of the community, including the self employed, business owners, investors and entrepreneurs are expected to attend.

“It will be a forum for the exchange of ideas, providing an opportunity to strengthen networks and form strategic alliances with participants committed to economic development on the West Coast.”

Mr Tauwhare says Maori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia and Economic Development Minister, Jim Anderton will be two of the keynote speakers as well as Ngai Tahu leaders Mark Solomon and Tahu Potiki.

West Coast Development Trust representatives, business investment managers and members of the scientific community including land development, natural resources, information technology and media experts will also attend.

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