The country's ethnic business leaders say wine and cheese evenings do not suit everyone and they want to be included in mainstream business networks.
Together, businesses run by migrants contribute $33 billion to Auckland's economy, a 30 percent slice, according to the Ministry for Ethnic Communities.
More than 100 leaders and two MPs attended the first business forum for the ethnic community, held in Auckland last week.
Mervin Singham was the chief executive of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, which hosted the meeting and provided halal food and a prayer room.
"Wine and cheese evening networking events might suit some communities, others may not feel so comfortable, some don't drink wine for example," Singham said.
"So it's that sort of cultural adaptation, simple things can make a huge difference.
"These ethnic businesses need to feel welcome and included and they need to see themselves represented in the organisations we are encouraging them to link into."
Singham said ethnic businesses had a lot of expertise to offer when it came to offshore markets and connections, and how to navigate business deals with another culture.
"We need to tap into our collective ingenuity and find innovative ways to support the ethnic businesses and increase their representation for a more coherent, productive economy for Aotearoa New Zealand and its people," he said.
Ethnic communities made up 37 percent of Auckland's population in 2018, and 30 percent of the region's $109b economy.
The country's Asian population was growing and projected to make up just over a quarter of the population by 2043.
The question was, are the nation's chambers of commerce inclusive enough to tap into this?
"A lot of ethnic businesses say 'we don't feel that comfortable joining with mainstream business associations because we need them to adapt to us'," Singham said.
But there were some signs of improvement.
Ralph Correa moved here more than two decades ago from Kenya and made the northern city of Whangārei his home. He attended the forum to listen and be heard.
"We should be at a number of boards and other places where we can contribute," Correa said.
"Our population is growing substantially, our contribution to GDP is growing substantially, and we should be sitting at the table."
As well as belonging to the Whangārei Chamber of Commerce, Correa was on the board for the Northland Indian Association and part of a collective which had regular round tables with government agencies including police and immigration.
Auckland Business Chamber supported the Ethnic Business Forum, and chamber chief executive Simon Bridges said he was ready to help put people in touch with one another.
"If your cousin's over from Shanghai I'm probably a bit busy, but if there are delegations coming in actually the chamber takes the role of facilitating those and giving a sense of the Auckland business scene very seriously."
Representatives from a range of business groups attended the forum, including the ASEAN New Zealand Business Council, the New Zealand Malaysia Business Association, the New Zealand Shandong Business Association, the Canton Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand and the Indian New Zealand Business Council.
Some at the forum, including Waitākere Ethnic Board president Gurdeep Talwar, were underwhelmed with the recent budget announcement - saying there was not much in it for the ethnic community.
"I didn't see anything specific for the ethnic communities. I don't think it was anything near to what the ethnic communities were looking for," Talwar said.
And it had not fallen on deaf ears - Minister for Auckland Michael Wood was at the forum along with Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who want to ensure businesses are getting the support the government has made available.