For Maori with Indian whakapapa (genealogy), an upcoming hui will provide an opportunity to learn more about their Hindu heritage.
There are about 2600 Maori in New Zealand who also have Indian whakapapa and hui co-ordinator Guna Magesan said Maori-Indians had yet to realise their potential and importance.
Dr Magesan said many of these people were from the Rotorua and Whakatane areas.
With an upcoming free trade agreement with India, Dr Magesan said Maori-Indians were in a unique situation where they could help.
"The most important reason for me to run this is New Zealand and India are going to sign a free-trade agreement.
"These Maori-Indians happen to be in the right place at the right time, they have both whakapapa.
"With India growing economically, I think it's time Maori-Indians have some share in that."
Dr Magesan said from his own experience with those with Maori-Indian heritage, many had been brought up by their Maori families and had lost touch with their Indian side.
"Many want to know about their Indian side. They want to know why women put the bindi on their forehead, many also have a sari but don't know how to tie it. At the hui, we will teach them this, and how to cook vegetarian food and teach the importance of organic farming."
The hui would function as a gathering of people with similar whakapapa to learn about their shared cultures, an academic conference with guest speakers, and will also have cultural and social sessions.
The theme of the hui is "Coming together, working together, growing together", and people from Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Whakatane, Opotiki, Kawhia and Wellington have shown interest in attending, with many also interested in bringing their whanau with them.
The hui will be at Tangatarua Marae at Waiariki Institute of Technology, a location Dr Magesan felt was an appropriate symbol of the dual culture of Maori-Indians.
"Tangatarua translates to 'two peoples' and strongly symbolises the bicultural nature of the people who will participate in this first hui of Maori-Indians. [Also], this marae was carved by Lyonel Grant, a Maori-Indian himself."
Mr Grant's aunt, Sita Emery, will also be at the hui.
She said belonging to both Maori and Indian cultures was a privilege.
"Both cultures are super rich, they are different of course but each complements the other in its own way.
"As I've matured, I've learned to appreciate my Indian roots. I'm cooking mean curries now."
Her daughter, Waitiahoaho Emery, said she was excited about the hui as her family had always acknowledged, and were proud of, their Indian heritage.
"We know our Indian whanau and have had lots of contact with them growing up. I'm looking forward to exploring that more, meeting people with a similar heritage and sharing some of their experiences relating to Maori Indian identity."
The hui will be from October 5 to October 7.
Email email@example.com. For more information, contact Dr Guna Magesan on 021 034 5621.