A fishing summit's heard Polynesian fishing firms should work in packs to hunt down new markets.
The head of Ngati Kahungunu, Ngahiwi Tomoana, has told industry leaders they need to export or die.
He was speaking at the Pacific New Zealand Fisheries Forum in Auckland on Wednesday.
Mr Tomoana said Polynesian fishing companies can't play in their own playground and expect to evolve.
He said indigenous enterprises need to band together to further break into China - otherwise first nation people will always be labourers.
Mr Tomoana says those jobs are infrequent and seasonal.
He says Maori are getting assets back from the Crown, but they're not fully utilising them.