The Treasury has admitted it has been slow to build links with iwi and tangata whenua.
The government department made the admission in a speech to the Huihuinga Wahine Maori Women Leadership Summit last week.
Treasury deputy chief executive Vicky Robertson said it had had a lot of contact over Treaty negotiations and natural resources, but it had been slower than some other government departments to create working partnerships with Maori and iwi.
The current wave of energy within Maori enterprises nationwide was palpable, she said, quoting a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade official who said the Maori economy was "bold, brown and on the move".
The shape of New Zealand was changing; Maori were a young and growing population, Ms Robertson said.
The Treasury acknowledged it needed to have a good grasp of the changes if it was going to be an effective policy adviser.
Culture was a competitive advantage in an economy based on international connections, Ms Robertson said.