The Federation of Maori Authorities says a recent trip to Rapanui highlighted the need for Maori to play a bigger leadership role in the Pacific.
Chairperson Traci Houpapa was part of a Latin American trade mission which visited a number of South American countries in March with the aim of forging closer relationships, including with First Nations peoples.
The trip also included a stopover at Rapanui, or Easter Island.
Ms Houpapa says Maori are held in high esteem by the Rapanui people, who want to have more exchanges with their Polynesian cousins and join forces to support economic and social outcomes.
She says native Easter Islanders want to learn from the Maori model of economic development.
It made her realise that Maori have underestimated the leadership role they should be playing to provide guidance in economic and social development for their Pacific cousins.