The Federation of Maori Authorities says the role of Maori women in business emulates their position as leaders on Marae.
The federation's annual hui is being held in Whanganui. About 300 people a day are attending the three-day conference, which starts on Friday.
The hui will canvass how to grow the Maori economy, looking at achievements in business by tangata whenua, as well as helping tribal organisations to work collaboratively.
The federation's chief executive, Te Horipo Karaitiana, believes their leadership qualities on the pa are also reflected in business. They are providing that same guard now in commercial leadership, which he thinks will grow.
Mr Karaitiana said at a grassroots level, there are ultimately more Maori women than men at university.
The federation has set up an annual Maori women's leadership summit, which is now in its third year. He said kaumatua came up with the idea nearly 30 years ago for a hui to be established specifically for wahine.