Over two days, nearly 100 Māori suppliers to Fonterra are meeting with the multinational dairy cooperative in Auckland to learn more about what the company does with their product.
For Daisey Noble of Te Rua o Moko, farming operations on a large scale are fairly new to Māori and she believes it's important to understand the Fonterra infrastructure, that until now, was largely unknown to those farmers.
"It's difficult enough for us to say, yes we want our whenua to be developed more but it's harder when we also have to contend with changes that are currently happening within the industry be it through whatever layers there are especially from Government who actually determines what's going to happen," says Noble.
Fonterra spokesperson Tiaki Hunia told Kawekōrero that inviting Māori suppliers to the Fonterra site is a big step and is the first of its kind. The next step he says is to meet them on their rohe on their farms to talk with the iwi and find out what's important for them.
"The benefits are there for everyone, not just for the dairy industry but if Fonterra gets it right the impact will be quite significant for our regions, for employers, for the motu whānui," says Hunia.
Noble says there is a desire from the Māori farming community to improve operations through the upcoming generations.
"I think in terms of strengthening Māori within the industry it has to start developing programs, we have to get our young ones, our rangatahi to start investing them into the industry and that starts at home, it doesn't start at employment level it starts in the schools," says Noble.