Nikora Ngaropo takes part in the world's first Indigenous festival at Expo 2020

Blog | 2021-12-13 | By: Lily della Porta

Last month Digital Council member, Nikora Ngaropo, winged his way to Dubai for Te Aratini, the festival for indigenous and tribal ideas.

A world-first event at Expo 2020 Dubai, the festival aims to aid the resurgence of Indigenous and tribal economies.

Nikora described the experience as an amazing opportunity that brought home the importance of inclusion.

"Expo 2020 is a showcase of business, trade, and innovation. Historically indigenous communities haven't been involved in this event, including indigenous people in Dubai."

"Te Aratini provides the opportunity for indigenous communities to be involved in these conversations."

Digital Council member Nikora stands in front of the camera wearing a head scarf. Behind him sand dunes glisten in the sun.
Nikora enjoys a change of scene in Dubai

Māori leaders in Aotearoa partnered with the New Zealand Government to develop Te Aratini, the first-ever Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas at a World Expo. 

It's these key opportunities, Nikora explains, that build valuable relationships.

"There is no opportunity if you are not in the conversation. Te Aratini is the first step in bringing the indigenous community into the global innovation space."

"It's exposure from both sides," he says, "the World Expo community and the indigenous community. Both communities now have visibility across the ecosystem for both internal and external stakeholders."

 Te Aratini is described by its founders as 'the opportunity to harness the untapped potential that Indigenous & Tribal Peoples offer toward a world that embraces shared, sustainable, and radically inclusive prosperity.'

The aim is to address the issues facing our world now and into the future by reigniting global connections and forging new trading relationships.

Nikora echoes that these are the aspirations of many indigenous people, and these themes came across strongly in many of the presentations at the festival.

Out in Dubai society, Nikora was struck by the similarities between Dubai's indigenous population, Emirati, and Maori in Aotearoa. 

"The Emirati make up 13% of the total population which is similar to Maori," Nikora points out, "they have a young population in Dubai which make up 36% of the total population."

The differences are stark too. He notes that "trust, inclusion and innovation play a huge part in the workplace and society here, and these three principles can be seen in how quickly the city and its people have developed."

In 2022, the Digital Council will release our own Inclusion research. Keep up to date by following us on Linkedin and Twitter.