Ngati Kahungunu chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says more Maori businesses are now starting to see China as an important market to enter as New Zealand becomes more focused on its relationship with Asia.
Speaking at a conference on the Maori economy in Wellington on Thursday, Mr Tomoana says for Maori it is about acknowledging their long genealogical links with China.
He says China is now the second largest global economy after the United States.
Mr Tomoana says as Maori and iwi corporates are becoming more sophisticated, they are tending to lean more towards China.
Mr Tomoana says the New Zealand economy is becoming less Euro-centric and American-centric with a bigger eye on China.
He says although Australia is New Zealand's largest market, as Maori businesses start gaining momentum and looking overseas, then China is the obvious choice.