The Poutama Trust, one of the Maori business initiatives that came out of the 1984 Hui Taumata, celebrated its 21st anniversary on Thursday.
At first, the trust acted as an initial source of advice and support for Maori seeking funding from the Maori Development Corporation.
Once the MDC folded it refocused on providing advice to small and medium-sized Maori businesses.
Chief executive Richard Jones, from Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Pikiao, told Waatea News it has helped dozens of businesses get started and seen a big change in attitudes too.
He says Maori entrepreneurs are better prepared and far more professional than when he started 15 years ago.
Once, he says, people just kept their business plans in their head, and if you asked to see financial statements you'd be shown bank statements.
"Now," Mr Jones says, "when we approach a business they've got their business plan, they've got their strategy for growth, they've got all their financial statements."
The 21st was celebrated at an innovative Auckland Maori business the trust has worked with, the Big Picture Wine Adventure.