A High Court Judge has told councils, iwi leaders and managers in Bay of Plenty they should be preparing for Maori to be a major driver of New Zealand's economy in the future.
Justice Joe Williams was the keynote speaker at a one-day conference called Te Toanga mai o Te Ra, held in Te Maunga near Tauranga on Monday.
He says currently 37% of the school age population in the area is Maori.
Justice Williams says issues such as health, criminal justice and education performance need to addressed so that children who are already in school will be able to become the engine room of the economy.
He says council and iwi should think ahead to when Maori are at the centre of the economy.