25 November 2022
“Being Indigenous is our value proposition in Aotearoa. We are uniquely Māori and it sets us apart from every other country on the globe.”
The World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF), which has been running annually since 2009, delivered its first in-person forum in Villavicencio, Colombia since Covid-19 halted most events worldwide. The forum sees Indigenous peoples from around the world come together from various sectors to share knowledge, create ongoing partnerships and improve economic opportunities for all Inidgenous peoples.
With 2022 also being the inaugural year of our tailored alumni programme to continue the professional development and learning for alumni, being able to attend and present at the Forum was too big of an opportunity to pass up. A traveling delegation including 3 of THK alumni, Luke Moss, Kayla Martin and Rennae Cherry traveled to Colombia to attend and present.
Moss commented on why more rangatahi should attend these types of events, noting “it’s important because we need to show rangatahi the world and make them global citizens as young as we can. There’s no point in our elders moving forward if we’re not bringing our rangatahi with them. So forums like these provide them the opportunities to make connections so by the time they’re in their 20’s or 30’s, they’re already making big, bold moves and changing the world.”
In addition to the forum attendance, the delegation was able to engage with other Indigenous peoples from Colombia, including visiting the Muisca people on their own whenua to discuss future aspirations for their people, and connecting with Indigenous tertiary students at Universidad Externado de Colombia.
Martin, who currently works as a Regional Advisor for Te Puni Kōkiri, understands the importance of creating Indigenou connections.
“These engagements provide an opportunity for Indigenous-to-Indigenous dialogue to be showcased and shared on a global scale. They offer a unique opportunity for cross cultural connections to be fostered and Indigenous innovation to be at the forefront.”
Cherry, who joined THK in 2020, participated in a fully online programme due to Covid. By attending WIBF in person, she saw the huge benefit in being able to connect kanohi ki te kanohi.
“Having attended the forum, I see a lot of opportunity for Indigenous businesses in the future, specifically Growth of partnership opportunities among Indigenous communities as well as between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities both domestically and internationally, improving supplier diversity and access to markets, finance, and networks.“
“Additionally, the Increased Indigenous participation in trade and policy development that will ultimately lead to economic prosperity and financial sovereignty.”
The World Indigenous Business Forum will be hosted by Papua New Guinea in 2023.