It has become known as the premier event on the Māori economy calendar and this Friday it will return home to Rotorua.

Matariki X, a one-day event, is bringing together successful innovation-minded Māori entrepreneurs and business leaders, rangatahi, community leaders and iwi.

After a one-year hiatus, Matariki X is set to return with the theme, "inspire, connect, grow".

Speaker and Kono chief executive Rachael Taulelei said it was a privilege to be in a space where collective thought could take place.


"I think Te Ao Māori is a real strength, a real grounding.

"What's amazing about my role is that I get to be Māori every day, to live my values, and unapologetically so and it's really liberating to be surrounded by people who are of the same mindset."

Rachel Taulelei chief executive of top 100 New Zealand food and drinks company Kono NZ. Photo / Supplied
Rachel Taulelei chief executive of top 100 New Zealand food and drinks company Kono NZ. Photo / Supplied

The inaugural Matariki X was held on June 2016 in Rotorua and the venue was at maximum capacity with a 300-strong audience. In 2017 the event doubled in size with 600 people attending.

The brains behind programmes Sidewalk Karaoke, Marae and Te Matatini live Pango Productions chief executive Bailey Mackey said it was time for Māori to take the world stage.

"I'm incredibly optimistic about our future, both in a storytelling context here in Aotearoa, but also internationally.

"I think that whenever I'm overseas in meetings or in pitches, people are always intrigued about who we are and where we're from and our story – wanting to get to know a bit more."

Mackey and Taulelei will join Jesse Armstrong, Billie Jo Ropiha, Nikora Ngaropo and Miriana Stephens as speakers.

A range of masterclass options providing actionable insights and strategies for business growth will take up most of the day.


Ngaropo said these events were important as others did not realise how important having culture was.

"When we're connecting with other people, it's all of those little things we have intrinsically as Māori that hold us in very good stead.

"Whether that's in Asia, or over in Europe, it's amazing to be Māori because you find places where you can align values."