About the Awards

The Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding Māori excellence and success in business.

Originally named the Māori Business Leaders Awards, the gifting of the Māori name Waipapa Taumata Rau by Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei to the University of Auckland provided grounds to include a component into the naming of the Awards, hence the change to Ngā Taumata Rau Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards. It not only represents relationships and partnership with Māori, but also meets the vision and purpose of these Awards. 

Vision: Whakatō te kākano, marotiritiri ai te māra, ka māea ngā hua

The Awards create, promote and celebrate the positives of excellence in Māori business by Māori whom impact upon communities and the world

Purpose: To celebrate Māori business

It is important for tertiary institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand to honour our successful Māori business leaders because they serve as excellent role models for the young Māori population.

Manaakitanga Māori

Manaakitanga Māori means to honour one’s guests with hospitality. As the premier event recognising and celebrating Māori business success in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Ngā Taumata Rau Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards:

  • Honour outstanding individual, group and organisational Māori success in business, in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.
  • Profile and promote excellence and success of Māori enterprise and business.
  • Inspire rangatahi and current University of Auckland students by providing Māori role models who are successful in the business world.

Māori as entrepreneurs

Māori, in the first years of contact with Europeans, soon showed the world beyond Aotearoa New Zealand that they are astute business operators and fearless entrepreneurs. Aotearoa New Zealand needs many more of these Māori business leaders to provide inspiration and leadership, not just to whanau and hapū, but for the greater benefit and enrichment of the nation. The aim of the Ngā Taumata Rau Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards is to publically recognise and honour these leaders.

History of the awards

The Ngā Taumata Rau Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards were established in 2003 by the late Dr Mānuka Henare, to acknowledge the academic success of Māori studying business, and to honour and celebrate the success and achievements of Māori business leaders. Over time the focus shifted from acknowledging academic success to celebrating successful Māori business leaders.

Current Award Categories

Te tohu Kairangi mō te Kaiārahi Pakihi Māori | Outstanding Māori Business Leader (Individual)

A person who has achieved exceptional success in their career and has demonstrated outstanding leadership characteristics whose influence extends beyond the confines of their role.

Te Tohu Rātā Whakaruruhau ate Kahurangi Mira Szászy | Dame Mira Szászy Lifetime Award

The award recognises a person who has an exceptional long-standing record in governance.

About Dame Mira Szászy:

The late Dame Mira Szászy was one of the most outstanding Māori women leaders of the twentieth century. She was the first Māori woman to graduate with a degree from the University of Auckland. She was also president of the Māori Women's Welfare League and was made a Dame in 1990. Her influence extended into many areas of society and community. Dame Mira made significant contributions in education, broadcasting, social welfare, and small business development. She received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington in 1993 in recognition of her contribution to the nation, and she was very active in women's rights and Māori issues.

Te tohu mō te Kaiārahi Rangatahi Māori i te ao Pakihi | Young Māori Business Leader

A person under 30 who has achieved significant success in their career to date, and inspires others to achieve success as a new generation of leaders.

Te tohu mō te Kaiārahi Rakahinonga Māori | Māori Entrepreneurial Leader

A person who has created/built/is building a successful business that is recognised internationally, driving innovation and entrepreneurship.

Te Tohu Whakanuia te Rangatira a Mānuka Henare

The award is in honour of the late Māori academic Dr Mānuka Henare,and recognises education, service and leadership that has positive local and global impacts for Māori and indigenous communities.

About Dr Mānuka Henare:

The late Dr Mānuka Henare is the founder of the Ngā Taumata Rau Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards and was an esteemed Māori academic. In 1996, he became the first lecturer in Māori business development to be appointed to the University of Auckland Business School. Dr Henare became the main teaching contributor to the Postgraduate Diploma in Business (Māori Development), known as the Te Tohu Huanga Māori Programme where he saw the opportunity to foster teaching and research on the history of the Māori economy. He developed the Dame Mira Szászy Research Centre and was awarded a national teaching excellence award (Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching - Kaupapa Māori category) in 2018.

Te tohu Kairangi mō te Ihorei Pakihi Māori | Outstanding Māori Business Leadership (Organisation)

A kaupapa Māori business that has achieved significant success that demonstrates transformation in their industry, sector or community, and leadership that has positive impacts. 

Te tohu mō te Whakatairanga i te Kete Aronui i te ao Pakihi | Kaitiaki Business Leader

The award recognises a business who promotes and achieves environmentally sustainable outcomes.

Te tohu Taumata Rau

The award recognises specifically an iwi, hapū, or marae-based business that has a strong cultural ethos portrayed on the global arena.

Past Awards Categories

Māori Governance Leader Award

A person who has achieved exceptional success in governance roles in a kaupapa Māori business and has demonstrated outstanding leadership characteristics.

He Rātā Whakaruruhau | Lifetime Achievement Award

An individual who has made a substantial and significant contribution to Māori enterprise over a long period of time.

Māori Woman Business Leader Award

A Māori woman who has achieved significant success in her career to date.

Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award

A graduate of the University of Auckland who has achieved significant success in their career to date. This Award is given periodically.