Outstanding Maori business leaders recognised in University Awards

04-May-2018 6:44 AM


Heading the internationally recognised Whale Watch Kaikoura, creating an online Maori warrior wahine to harness the power of gaming, and developing a financial literacy tool used by tens of thousands of students are just some of the local smarts that have been recognised among the winners of this year’s University of Auckland Aotearoa Maori Business Leaders Awards.
Associate Professor Carla Houkamau, Associate Dean, Maori and Pacific of the Auckland Business School, which runs the awards, says that latest estimates put the Maori economy at $50 billion, with iwi assets at $7.8 billion.
“These awards not only raise awareness of some of the many Maori business successes, they also help inspire our own tauira to take their place in a growing economy grounded in Maori world views,” she says.
Outstanding Maori Business Leader Award: Kauahi Ngapora, GM of Whale Watch Kaikoura – Recovery and beyond
Kauahi Ngapora (Ngai Tahu, Waikato-Tainui) started out at Whale Watch Kaikoura as a caregiver (aka sea sickness bucket emptier) at age 15. In the top job since 2009, he has steered the internationally renowned organisation through one of tourism’s most turbulent times – with ongoing repercussions of the global financial crisis exacerbated by the Christchurch earthquakes. The Kaikoura 2016 earthquake halted operations until late 2017. “What drives me is my whanau and their future, the people around me and honouring the legacy of the founders of Whale Watch, and contributing to Tino Rangatiratanga for Maori.”
Maori Entrepreneurial Leader Award: Maruhaeremuri Nihoniho MNZM, Metia Interactive
Maru Nihoniho (Ngati Porou, Whanau a Apanui, Ngai Tahu) harnesses the power of gaming for education and mental health. She is behind Metia Interactive, an award-winning game development studio in Tamaki Makaurau with the tagline “making serious fun”. Her focus is on creating meaningful entertaining games incorporating Maori themes including te reo. “The goal is to encourage rangatahi into technology-based study at tertiary level. “They are growing up using these technologies and they should understand or know how to make content for them in the least. At best, they will be the future content creators and technologists.”
Young Maori Business Leader Award: Kendall Flutey, CEO of Banqer
On the basis that “when it comes to money, knowledge is power”, Kendall Flutey (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kahungunu) created simulated online banking platform Banqer. Partnering with Kiwibank, the platform teaches concepts of saving, investing, borrowing and purchasing by turning the classroom into a virtual economy. Today it is used by more than 63,000 students in Australasia – 57,000 in Aotearoa – with expansion planned to US, Canada and Singapore. A te reo version of the platform is being developed; input is welcome from anyone passionate about financial literacy in tamariki.
Maori Woman Business Leader Award: Rachel Taulelei MZNM, CEO of Kono
Rachel Taulelei (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Koata) has championed Aotearoa as a producer of premium food and beverages for 20 years. She’s CEO of Kono NZ, a family-owned producer that employs 400+ staff, farms 530 hectares of land and sea, and exports to over 25 countries. Its brands include Tohu, Aronui, and Kono wines, Tutu cider, Kono mussels and Annie’s fruit bars.  “Shining a light on Maori women in business ensures we are visible to young wahine, which makes it infinitely easier for young women and even young Maori men to identify themselves in future positions of leadership.”
Maori Governance Leader Award: Whaimutu Dewes – For a new generation of leaders
In his many directorships, Whaimutu Dewes (Ngati Porou, Ngati Rangitihi) has been instrumental in milestone developments in New Zealand constitutional law, particularly the recognition of Tiriti o Waitangi property rights and structures to realise the economic outcomes of those rights. He has negotiated significant joint ventures in forestry, carbon sequestration, seafood harvest and global marketing. His kaupapa is “growth of opportunity for the new generation(s) of leaders to realise the aspiration of our forebears – kia ora tonu ai te Iwi; tona ake reo; tona ake tikanga; moake tonu atu.”
Outstanding Maori Business Leadership Award: Iwi Collective Partnership
The Iwi Collective Partnership is the largest collective of iwi Maori commercial fisheries interests. Formed in 2010, it pools 16,000+ metric tonnes of fisheries resources owned by 15 iwi, allowing it to optimise returns and create economics of scale to better manage, protect and grow the pot for all members. Tairawhiti Gisborne-based chairman Mark Ngata says the award acknowledges the need for collaboration and collectivisation of iwi as the only future of Maori in the fisheries sector. “Ehara te ika noa iho, ko tatau a tatau tonu (It’s not just about the fish, it’s about us),” he says.
For more information -  Nicola Shepheard, Tel: 09 923 1515         Mob: 027 537 1319     Email: n.shepheard@auckland.ac.nz
The awards are sponsored by: Bank of New Zealand, Ngai Tahu Holdings, He kai kei aku ringa - The Crown-Maori Economic Development Strategy, Te Tumu Paeroa, Chapman Tripp, University of Auckland Business School, Fonterra, Vodafone, and Tohu Wines. The awards are supported by Ngati Whatua Orakei and the taonga are provided by Waewae Pounamu.
Outstanding Maori Business Leaders Award: Te Tohu Kairangi mo te Kaiarahi Pakihi Maori
Kauahi Ngapora (Whale Watch Kaikoura GM)
Young Maori Business Leader Award: Te Tohu mo te Kaiarahi Rangatahi Maori i nga mahi Pakihi
Kendall Flutey (Banqer co-founder and CEO)
Maori Woman Business Leader Award: Te Tohu mo te Kaiarahi Wahine Maori i nga mahi Pakihi
Rachel Taulelei (Kono CEO)
Maori Governance Award: Te Tohu mo te Kaiarahi Whakahaere Maori
Whaimutu Dewes (Chairman of Moana New Zealand and Sealord Group, and a number of other governance roles)
Maori Entrepreneurial Leader Award: Te Tohu mo te Kaiarahi Rakahinonga Maori
Maruhaeremuri Nihoniho (Metia Interactive founder and MD)
Outstanding Maori Business Leadership Award (for organisations): Te Tohu Kairangi mo te Pakihi Maori Ihorei
Iwi Collective Partnership 


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