Next year's national commemoration of Captain James Cook's arrival in New Zealand, Tuia - Encounters 250, was providing a platform to showcase leading Māori businesses in Te Tai Tokerau, according to Te Hiringa Business Promotions trustee Walter Wells.
Tuia 250 will mark 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and Pākehā when Captain Cook's Endeavour arrived in New Zealand in November 1769.
Wells said a partnership between Te Hiringa Business Promotions Trust and Te Au Mārie Trust, the regional organiser of Tuia - Encounters 250, would see personnel spend two days promoting regional Māori businesses at the 'Made in Italy' expo at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, including exhibitors from Italy, Australia and around New Zealand today and tomorrow.
The expo offered an opportunity to showcase what Te Tai Tokerau offered visitors and its businesses, and boost trade with Italy, which was especially significant given the coming America's Cup regatta in Auckland.
"Italy is our fourth-largest individual trading partner within the EU. In 2017 two-way trade between New Zealand and Italy was worth more than $1 billion a year," Wells said.
Following the expo Te Hiringa would roll out a series of information hui across Northland, aimed at whānau-hapū-iwi, communities, organisations and businesses, with a view to brokering opportunities for them to showcase their projects, products and services alongside the Tuia - Encounters 250 commemorations.
"The workshops will cover what Tuia 250 is and isn't, how businesses and groups can get involved, and how to access resources for projects and events," he said.
"We are partnering with Te Au Mārie Trust so we can ensure people are aware of the opportunities, regionally, nationally, and even internationally."
Te Au Mārie Trust general manager Ngaire Wilson said, at its heart, Tuia - 250 was about people and places.
"For some people, the arrival of Cook is celebrated as the great discovery, but for others it doesn't warrant celebration at all," she said.
"Tuia 250 is about exploring our multiple histories. But to do that, we truly need to hear each other.
"What we don't want to do is let this opportunity pass us by. The fact that we as a region, and indeed as a country, have the chance to tell our stories, commemorate or otherwise, whatever way we want, then why would we not do that?"
Workshop venues and dates include:
* Omapere: November, 28, Copthorne Hotel Hokianga, 9am-11.30am.
* Kerikeri: November 28, Cornerstone Church, 144 Kerikeri Rd, 2pm-4.30pm.
* Kaitaia: November 29, Te Ahu Centre, 10am-12.30pm.
Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to email@example.com by Friday. For more information go to www.teaumarie.org.nz