Skip to main content

Te Manawatōpū: Of one heart and mind -
Indigenous to Indigenous Dialogue

Executive Summary

Tēnā rā koutou katoa e manawatōpū mai nei i runga anō i te kaupapa kua whakaritea. Me mihi tonu ki ngā tūpuna kua ngaro i te tirohanga kanohi. Nā rātou ngā kaupapa i tuku mai ki tēnei whakatupuranga, arā, hei painga mō ngā uri kei te heke tonu mai. Nā reira, kia kaha tonu tātou katoa, kia ū, kia manawaroa. 

(Greetings to all who have joined together in this important project, in the spirit of one heart and mind. We acknowledge our progenitors who are no longer with us, who have laid the foundations and paved the way for this generation and future generations to come. Therefore let us be strong, resilient and unyielding as we advance forward together).

At the pinnacle of New Zealand’s APEC host year, the Te Manawatōpū: of One Heart and Mind Indigenous to Indigenous Dialogue provided a fitting platform for the region’s Indigenous Peoples to come together in the APEC-adjacent space. The dialogue’s objective was to consider ways in which to strengthen Indigenous communities and economies in the face of current challenges and opportunities.

The dialogue provided a platform where Indigenous Peoples could speak freely on issues of importance to them, as well as share information and ideas and broaden networks across the region. The dialogue was an important first step in the journey to building momentum in Indigenous collaboration alongside APEC, which would help to nurture the Indigenous seed planted in APEC during New Zealand’s host year.

This report provides a summary overview of the substance of discussion and outcomes from the dialogue. A range of topics were covered including the importance of supporting youth in community and in business, food and job security, digital connectivity, protecting Indigenous Intellectual Property, Indigenous Land Management and Indigenous data protection.

The dialogue enjoyed a selection of expert guest speakers from Canada, the Philippines, Mexico and Aotearoa-New Zealand. Thanks to the skilled assistance of our Spanish Interpreter from Mexico and technological supports language was a connector, not a barrier, to communication. The dialogue was also honoured to have the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, provide welcome remarks as the first Māori female in the role. Her comments reflected the significance of the occasion and opportunities ahead for Indigenous Peoples in the Asia Pacific.   

Included in this report is a selection of themes that were discussed at the dialogue: environmental sustainability, the relationship between culture and commerce, Indigenous Global Trade, the value of cooperatives and Indigenous collaboration. It also provides some commentary around the importance of these themes, puntcuated by quotes from speakers and participants. 

Overall, there was a strong sense of whanaungatanga (familial connection) and camaraderie among participants. There was also a strong and clear appetite to establish mechanisms that would facilitate Indigenous collaboration and connections moving forward, including through establishing an Indigenous to Indigenous Virtual Business Platform or network as a potential action.

Co-Chair’s Foreword

As Co-Chairs of Te Rangitūkupu, the APEC Māori Partnership Group and hosts of the Te Manawatōpū Indigenous to Indigenous dialogue held virtually on 15 October 2021, we are pleased to provide this report on the content and outcomes of the dialogue.

The dialogue was the first ever by-Indigenous, for-Indigenous event to take place alongside APEC. It brought together Indigenous leaders, landowners, exporters, small to medium enterprise owners and women entrepreneurs from throughout the region to discuss Indigenous economic and trade interests.

Leveraging relationships across the APEC economies and using the APEC platform to strengthen Indigenous connections, the dialogue reinforced that we can reignite Indigenous to Indigenous relationships and re-establish ancient Indigenous trading routes, with a focus on future collaboration. We assert that we can create more connected regional Indigenous communities through:

1. Reaffirming our connections.  Indigenous Peoples share traits and common values of empowering our communities, cultural identity and self-determination for collective benefit. Connection, relationships and reciprocity were evident as universal principles.

2. Timing. The time is now. This is a time of transformation and healing for Indigenous Peoples where we can promote the best of commerce and culture in a balanced and considered manner that brings wealth and well-being to our Peoples.

3. Sustainable management. The dialogue highlighted the importance of natural, strategic, metaphysical, economic and environmental alignment that exists amongst Indigenous Peoples. Development that is sustainable, intergenerational and regenerative using cultural philosophies as the impetus for that development.

4. People – our most important treasure. Our global relationships and connections must be nurtured as everyone plays a part regardless of age and role.

From here, we look forward to building momentum together based on the foundation we have laid over the course of this year to see tangible outcomes for Indigenous Peoples, including through the Indigenous Peoples’ Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA) which will grow over time to include more economies.

As emphasised by the Māori proverb “Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, ki te kāpuia e kore e whati” (When we stand alone we are vulnerable, but together we are unbreakable), there is strength in unity. This proverb reminds us of the importance of working together toward a common goal. As we share information, ideas and experiences and lift each other up, we will be able to move forward together as a stronger and resilient team, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Traci Houpapa MNZM JP & Pita Tipene
Te Rangitūkupu Co-Chairs

* * * 

Te Manawatōpū – meaning and significance of the name

The name Te Manawatōpū combines concepts and worldviews to coalesce the shared connections, experiences, and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples into a collective vision of development, growth and prosperity. A forum with traditional meaning and future focus.

“Of one heart and mind” is an English language rendering of the Māori term ‘manawatōpū’. Yet from a Māori viewpoint the word ‘manawa’ generally translates as ‘the heart of a person’. In many cultures the heart is regarded as the seat of personal affection and expression of feelings and emotions.

‘Manawa’ also refers to a state of forbearing where one exercises great patience and restraint in the face of unbearable circumstances. A sign of resilience and fortitude, it is also a metaphor for ‘breath’: To breathe is to live. To be alive is to breathe. This is a concept that many Indigenous Peoples around the world understand and experience in their daily reality, that is, to be heard, to be acknowledged and to even just exist.

The word ‘tōpū’ refers to a gathering with purpose, an assembly drawn together by a call to action to address and resolve important matters. It is a deliberate and decisive meeting formed to consolidate, merge, combine and unite.

Te Manawatōpū – Of one heart and mind: Indigenous to Indigenous Dialogue invited Indigenous Peoples from APEC member economies to join in an interactive virtual dialogue to strengthen Indigenous connections, identify areas of cooperation and drive Indigenous international trade.

Objective and outcome of the dialogue

The principal objective of the dialogue was to create meaningful Indigenous connections among Indigenous Peoples in Asia Pacific on areas of mutual benefit for trade and economic prosperity. Outcomes sought included initiating conversations as well as sharing experiences and knowledge to strengthen Indigenous relationships and to identify areas of mutual cooperation for Indigenous collaboration.

As part of the APEC-adjacent work programme, the dialogue also sought to complement the work that has taken place in the in-APEC space, demonstrating that Indigenous inclusion is of interest to economies and Indigenous Peoples across the region, beyond New Zealand’s host year priorities. This is important to advocate for its inclusion in-APEC. In the dialogue we sought:

  • Whakawhanaungatanga (kinship): acknowledge our shared Indigenous heritage and strengthen our Indigenous networks and relationships;
  • Wānanga (dialogue and discussion): to initiate conversations and share experiences from our communities and economies; and
  • Kotahitanga (unity): identify areas of mutual cooperation for future collaboration to grow our Indigenous trade and economic linkages.

Key Themes

Below is an outline of key themes that emerged from the dialogue, accompanied with quotes from the dialogue.

a. Environmental Sustainability

“Without the forest, there is no tribe to speak of, without the socio-cultural practices and peace, what will be left of the tribe? If they cannot respond to their economic needs, can they sustain the forest?”. Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya

Indigenous Peoples view the environment as being interconnected and imbued with a spiritual life force to be maintained and protected. This view is based on a moral sense of duty and obligation to ensure the health of the environment as a living entity, and in many cultures, as an ancestor. As a result, many Indigenous Peoples consider themselves as responsible guardians and caretakers of the natural world.  This is in comparison to an alternative economic view that often focuses on the flow of resources and capital to meet human economic, social and technological goals.

Participants spoke of community groups using sustainable practices in business to lessen their footprint on the environment and ensure intergenerational sustainability. In Mexico, Indigenous Peoples have significant energy and water development interests, which presents an opportunity for collaboration between Indigenous Peoples experienced in this area.

Panellist Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya from the Philippines spoke of the importance of sustainability and the retention of land in Indigenous ownership. This enabled the Higaunon peoples of Mindanao to protect the biodiversities within their forests in order to sustain themselves.  She asserted that the ability of the Higaunon Peoples to care for their forest and its environment was key to maintaining their cultural identity, food security and upholding their self-determination.

She touched on the inter-relational nature of sustainability when she stated that “sustainability is the interplay between the economic, socio-cultural and the forests (natural environment). Land, together with the forest, water and environment is central to the culture, identity and the practice of 
self-determination of the Indigenous Peoples”. She proceeded to explain that the basic principle in Indigenous enterprises is that business operations do not harm the forests and environment.

b. The relationship between culture and commerce

“I want Pōtiki Poi to be eco-friendly, I want to ensure that we don’t hurt Papatūānuku, our earth mother, so we make sure all of our products are sourced from second-hand stores and our plastic is biodegradable… our mission is to provide our customers with products that are enhancing Māori culture, revitalising our taonga Māori (Māori treasures) that have been lost over the years and our products are eco-friendly and made by people with diverse abilities”. Georgia Tiatia Fa’atoese Latu

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta talked about the value add that Māori culture can provide as a point of difference and competitive advantage. This can translate into a premium price which benefits Māori and New Zealand generally in many ways – economically, socially, environmentally and culturally. She also noted that Indigenous traditional knowledge forms the basis of that distinctiveness, which highlights the need to protect traditional knowledge from unwarranted and inappropriate use.

One participant suggested that the relationship between culture and commerce needed to be reciprocal to avoid the over-commercialisation of culture with a suggestion that equal emphasis be placed on culturalising commerce. It was noted that more businesses were turning from a focus on value over volume, to values over volume, in a bid to bring Indigenous values systems into business.

Other quotes:

  • “The intersections between commerce and culture and how we marry those two things in a way that is harmonious, not only from a commercial perspective but also enhancing our cultural obligations and our commitments to the environment”. (Heta Hudson)
  • “Looking to move from value instead of volume in terms of products, but even taking it further and actually moving towards values instead of volume in terms of the way we engage and the way we do business together”. (Heta quoting Dale Stephens)
  • “Culture allows us to grow capital”. (Waihoroi Shortland)
c. Indigenous Global Trade

“We used to have trade routes going up and down North America. We even had a trade language. Trade has been going on for many years, generation after generation”. Tewannee Joseph

During the dialogue, there was a strong call to re-establish ancient Indigenous trading routes, with the acknowledgement that trade is crucial to the collective well-being and livelihood of Indigenous Peoples. There was acknowledgement however that in order to have these trade routes, improvements needed to be made to close the digital divide and increase Indigenous digital connectivity. A question was raised about how to “exploit” (or partake of – used in a positive sense) natural resources for trade while maintaining stewardship of Mother Earth.

During his keynote speech, Tewanee Joseph from Canada said that “Trade has been going on for many years, generation after generation. But also throughout the Asia Pacific there were also trade routes and I believe it’s important for us to re-establish those trade routes together and for us to reconnect but also think about the economic futures within our own countries but also have those boundaries that allow us to work together with a common goal and a common future”. Other quotes:

  • “The importance of strengthening our networks and the opportunity to develop our own specific Indigenous platform for our global village in which we can trade”. (Karleen Everitt)
d. Cooperatives

“I have seen a cooperative focused on coffee production and marketing to export coffee to the world”. Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya

Panellist Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya questioned whether cooperatives were a way to help our Indigenous communities earn an income.  A model within tribal structures should be defined so it strengthens the socio-political structure, not drive it. Sylvia stated that “I have seen a cooperative focused on coffee production and marketing to export coffee to the world”. There are 859 cooperatives in the Philippines, and this is an area of development within wider Indigenous communities.

Cooperatives are well suited to Indigenous economies due to the ability to pool resources and split costs. This is especially helpful for small businesses that do not need services on the scale that larger companies do and thus cannot justify purchasing the service packages larger companies typically buy.

Other quotes:

  • “Although there are many cooperatives and Indigenous Peoples can join those cooperatives, but potentially our Indigenous Peoples are not leading and using the cooperative model to its full potential”. (Hinerangi Edwards, reporting back on breakout discussion)
e. Indigenous collaboration

“First Nations in Canada are working on multi-billion dollar projects in this country and I believe that it’s important that this can be carried forward throughout the whole Asia Pacific. So it’s my hope and my challenge that we all work together and that one of the outcomes coming out of this discussion is that we build a virtual Indigenous Business to Business network that can work with governments throughout all of the Asia Pacific”. Tewanee Joseph

There was a strong call both throughout the speakers’ presentations and breakout discussions for Indigenous Peoples to mobilise and come together to build an Indigenous business and trade network – beginning with an online Indigenous database of contact details and business information of participants in the dialogue as a basis on which to build.

There was a recognition that the status quo system is not working for Indigenous Peoples and a suggestion was made that the status quo be reshaped to meet Indigenous needs instead. Another option would be for Indigenous Peoples to design and establish a platform that considers their needs from the outset in the design solution, as an expression of self-determination. It was also noted that we each have strengths that can complement each other in collaboration activities.

Other quotes:

  • “How can we move forward in this effort for collaboration? There must be networks and platforms across the Asia Pacific for the Indigenous Peoples. How can we strengthen these networks and platforms?”. (Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya)
  • “The importance of strengthening our networks and the opportunity to develop our own specific Indigenous platform for our global village in which we can trade”. (Karleen Everitt)
  • “There’s lots of things going on in the region that we don’t know about so there’s something around communication, making it easier to access information, but reshaping it so it makes it easier for our Indigenous Peoples to connect… our big idea was to have an Indigenous database and using technology to help build and strengthen this Indigenous network online, particularly in these COVID times. A place where we can share practices and information and acknowledge the importance of identifying where people are at. We are all at different places, different levels but the network should enable us within an Indigenous framework to connect at the level”. (Liz Te Amo, reporting back from breakout session)

Areas for future collaboration

A clear and overwhelming message from the dialogue was the desire for self-determination, where Indigenous businesses have the ability to make their own decisions and determine their own pathways.

In this sense, a current gap was identified in the lack of by-Indigenous, for-Indigenous virtual platform as a mechanism for Indigenous businesses to keep in touch, share information and ideas and identify areas for future collaboration. Such a platform is even more important during COVID-19 when businesses are not able to travel freely and engage in person.

On many occasions during the dialogue, there were clear calls to establish a virtual Indigenous Business to Business platform or online network for these purposes. As a tangible outcome and next step following the dialogue, willing participants could look to form such a platform, starting small and building in size and momentum over time.

The platform could facilitate collaboration in a number of areas including language and cultural revitalisation, digital connectivity, e-commerce opportunities, trade, product and service development and the protection of Indigenous intellectual property, to name a few.

Annex 1 – Dialogue Agenda

Session 1: Whakatakoko Kaupapa – Setting the scene (20 mins)

Session objective: The session will set the tone for the dialogue, highlighting the importance of relationships based on Indigenous values and knowledge. It will provide an overarching contextual backdrop and stimulate thought leading to robust dialogue.

12:00 AM

Tikanga Whakamihi – Ceremonial Opening

Karakia / Mihi – Waihoroi Shortland

Traditional Māori acknowledgement to all participants

12:05 AM

Opening Remarks

Traci Houpapa, Chair

12:13 AM

Welcome Remarks

Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs

12:18 AM

Chair to introduce keynote speaker

12:19 AM

Keynote speaker

Keynote Speaker: Tewanee Joseph, Canada (pre-recorded)

Session 2: Kōrero Mātanga – discussion panel (40 mins)

Theme: “He whānau, he hapori – Building Indigenous Enterprises and Communities”

Session objective: Panel discussion on building Indigenous enterprises and community

12:26 AM

Chair to introduce panellists

  1. Engr. Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya, Philippines
  2. Georgia Latu, Aotearoa New Zealand
  3. Cecilio Solis, Mexico
12:29 AM

Panellist 1: Engr. Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya, Philippines

Topic: Building Indigenous enterprises and communities

12:34 AM

Panellist 2: Georgia Latu, Aotearoa New Zealand

Topic: Digital technologies

12:39 AM

Panellist 3: Cecilio Solis, Mexico

Topic: Role of families and communities

12:49 AM

Q&A session

Session 3:  Kōrero Mātanga – Specialist panels (45 mins)

Participants will have the opportunity to connect more intimately with each other to reflect on the panel discussion and agree potential areas for future collaboration.

12:55 AM

Discussion will cover three areas:

  1. Whanaungatanga/self-introductions
  2. Panel reflections
  3. Summary of insights
Session 3: Whakarāpopoto – summary (30 mins) 
1:45 AM

Report back session

Chair to welcome facilitators to share their reflections from the breakouts.

Facilitators report back on areas of further collaboration (3 minutes each)

2:00 AMChair's closing remarks
2:06 AMTikanga Whakakapi – Traditional closing ceremony
2:15 - 2:30 AMDialogue ends

Annex 2 — Biographies

From top left: Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Traci Houpapa, MNZM JP, Tewanee Joseph. From bottom left: Cecilio Solis Liberado, Georgia Latu and Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Minister of Foreign Affairs 

As a mother, and a constituent MP with 20 plus years’ experience who has come from ‘flax-root’ politics, Hon Nanaia Mahuta remains connected to the aspirations of people from all walks of life. Those who work hard for a living so that their children can do better, kaumatua, tradespeople, those who aspire to own their home, those who own small businesses and those who lead a range of services and organisations and huge iwi entities.

During her time in Parliament, Nanaia supported policies and initiatives that built the capacity of communities, especially social service organisations, greater investment in education, employment and training opportunities particularly for young people, supported the continuation of the Treaty settlement process and supported specific initiatives that lift the wellbeing and opportunities for young mums and those who are vulnerable and victims of abuse.

Nanaia is a tribal member of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Manu and her parliamentary experience has enabled her to contribute to the collective aspirations of Maori and all New Zealanders.

In the 2020 Labour Government, Nanaia became the first woman to hold the Foreign Affairs portfolio. She is also Minister of Local Government, and Associate Minister for Māori Development.

* * * 

Dialogue Chair

Traci Houpapa, MNZM JP

Chair, Federation of Māori Authorities

Chair, Te Rangitūkupu (APEC Māori Partnership Group)

Traci is an award winning company director and a recognised industry leader.  She is a trusted advisor to Maori, Government and industry on strategic and economic development, and is known for her strong and inclusive leadership and her clear focus on building the wealth and prosperity of New Zealand.

A Chartered Fellow of the NZ Institute of Directors, Traci is named as one of the top ten most influential women in NZ agribusiness and the Listener’s top ten influencers in NZ.  She won the Westpac Fairfax Media Women of Influence Board and Management award and named on Westpac’s NZ Women Powerbrokers list.  Traci was awarded the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Service Award for services to NZ agribusiness and Maori, and named amongst the BBCs 100 Most Influential Women in the World.

Traci is a Member of the NZ Order of Merit, a Justice of the Peace and a Marriage Celebrant.

Keynote speaker

Tewanee Joseph

CEO, Tewanee Consulting Group, Canada

Tewanee’s mother is of the Indigenous Canadian Squamish Nation, and his Father is Māori from Taranaki Whānui. He has served eight years on the Squamish Nation government.

As the CEO of the Four Host First Nations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Tewanee secured Indigenous participation in the planning and hosting of the Games. He and his team overcame countless challenges to create a new model for inclusivity. This project resulted in the largest inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in an Olympic Opening Ceremonies ever; viewed by approximately 3.5 billion people.

He is further embracing the new digital reality, getting ready to launch a First Nations news economic development YouTube channel podcast which will highlight new business developments and legislative changes across Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

 * * * 


Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya

CEO, National Confederation of Cooperatives, Philippines

Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya is the CEO of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) of the Philippines, a federation of 859 cooperatives with 6.4 million individual members, which seeks to build socio-economic capabilities of cooperatives to improve the lives of the people.

She has observed global cooperative movements and has participated in various global conferences. She was the Chair of Proxfin, an association of organisations in 25 economies assisted by the Development Internationale Desjardins of Quebec, Canada.

She has held leadership positions in various NGO networks and cooperatives in the Philippines, giving her a wider perspective of the development frameworks affecting various sectors. She was a former member of the Government Panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from 2004-2008.

A member of the Higaunon tribe of Bukidnon, she is a chemical Engineer and holds a Master in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines.

Georgia Latu

CEO, Pōtiki Poi, Aotearoa-New Zealand

When Georgia was 12 years old she started her own business making poi with her whānau in the lounge of their whare. She named the business Pōtiki Poi. Pōtiki is the last name of her ancestor Tahu Pōtiki that lead her people to the South Island of Aotearoa. And Pōtiki also means, youngest child. Her youngest brother was born with Trisomy 21 the same year she started her business and she wanted to ensure her business would support him and others with diverse abilities in her community. Two and a half years on Georgia is the CEO of the world's largest eco-friendly poi manufacturing business.

Cecilio Solis Liberado

President of Federación Indígena Empresarial y Comunidades Locales de México (Federation of Indigenous Businesses and Local Communities of Mexico)

Cecilio Solis Liberado is of Nahua descent, from the Sierra Norte of Puebla state, Mexico. He is the President of the Federation of Indigenous Business and Local Communities of Mexico (CIELO, in its Spanish acronym).

CIELO operates in 22 states throughout Mexico, with its membership comprising of 33 Indigenous groups and local communities, including those of Afro-Mexican descent. Currently 253 entrepreneurs (individuals and collectives) are being supported through the network, with the intention to generate local jobs and assets and prevent the need to migrate out of their communities, all the while keeping cultural and environmental considerations top of mind. CIELO is part of the first “Buen Vivir” Fund investment round, working on FIDI: the Fund for Development with Identity, which will support 33 small Indigenous businesses in bringing their products to market while maintaining their cultural heritages.

Annex 3 — Statistics on participation


Registered participants: 175
Attendees: 74

Session Attendees by Economy

Australia: 0
Canada: 3
Malaysia: 3
Mexico: 19
New Zealand: 46
The Philippines: 2
Thailand: 1
United Arabic Emirates: 1

Attendees by gender

Male: 53%
Female: 44%
Gender diverse: 3%

Social Media Analytics

Te Manawatōpū: of One Heart and Mind - Indigenous to Indigenous Dialogue

2389 people reached

41 likes/ comments/ shares

69 post clicks (23 clicks to play, 8 link clicks, 38 other clicks)

1581 people reached

42 likes/ comment/ retweets

305 plays  

1924 people reached

42 likes/ comments/ shares

46 clicks

2.39% click through rate, 5.46% engagement rate 

5894 people reached

125 reactions

Tewanee Joseph announcement 

2871 people reached

54 likes/comments/ retweets (Tewanee Joseph also retweeted)

 2871 people reached (plus Tewanee’s Twitter audience of 1600)
Virtual Koha video

 6807 people reached (460 organic, 6380 paid)

54 likes/ comments/ shares

178 post clicks (49 clicks to play, 14 link clicks, 115 other clicks)

375 people reached

18 likes/ comments/ shares

102 plays

1240 people reached

31 likes/ comments/ shares

29 clicks

2.34% click through rate, 5.4% engagement rate

8422 people reached

103 reactions