Agribusiness leader Traci Houpapa, named one of the world's most influential women, will speak at Te Manu Atatu's first business network after five function in Whanganui.

Te Manu Atatu — the Whanganui Maori Business Network — will host Houpapa at the Whanganui UCOL Atrium at 5.15pm today, Wednesday, April 18.

"It is not often we have a speaker the calibre of Traci," board chairwoman Carol Hayward said.

"We are excited to invite Maori business, iwi, hapu, all Maori to come and hear Traci talk about the Maori economy. However, the conversation around the Maori economy is about all New Zealanders and we also invite those that do business with Maori and or for Maori to hear the whaikorero [formal speech].

"It is not often we have a speaker the calibre of Traci."

"We are really looking forward to the positive conversation around Maori business here in Whanganui and how bright that looks for Maori," she said.

"One of Houpapa's board roles is with Accelerate 25, the regional economic growth team, and so the opportunities for Maori in this region are particular significant, with 186,600 hectares of Maori title under Horizons [Regional Council]," Te Manu Atatu network facilitator Lisa Chase said.

Houpapa (Ngati Maniapoto, Taranaki and Ngati Tuwharetoa) grew up in the King Country.
She has worked as a tour guide on the Whanganui River, a rousey in a shearing gang, a lab technician, a social worker and on a project setting up kohanga reo centres around the North Island.

She then returned to the King Country and worked for her community Maori trust board as operations manager and then as chief executive.

An award-winning company director and a recognised industry leader, Houpapa specialises in strategic and economic development advice to Maori, iwi, public and private sector clients throughout New Zealand.

She holds a range of governance roles and is chair of FOMA (Federation of Maori Authorities), a national advocacy body representing more than 150 Maori authorities with a collective asset base of around $8 billion in the primary sector, tourism, commercial property and investments.

In 2016, Houpapa was named in the BBC's top 100 most influential women in the world.
Tickets for Te Manu Atatu's event are available online at Eventfinda.