Meet the talented business leaders who received the 2017 University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards at a ceremony held on 4 May 2018.
Young Māori Business Leader Award
The award recognises a person under 35 who has achieved significant success in his or her career to date and is a business leader now and in the future.
Kendall is the co-founder and CEO of Banqer, a financial education platform used by more than 63,000 primary and intermediate school students across Australasia. Banqer’s simulated online banking gives students the opportunity to learn about the concepts of saving, investing, borrowing and purchasing. Banqer has been described as “an amazing digital financial literacy program for kids that is a winner for both teachers and students.”
Kendall came up with the idea for Banqer, and with four business partners launched the platform in 2015. Banqer has partnered with Kiwibank so that more than 40% of schools across New Zealand can access the software. Last year Banqer began rolling out to students across Australia, working in partnership with FPA and Netwealth; and is looking at the USA, Canada and Singapore as potential expansion opportunities.
Kendall enjoys the challenge that comes with growing a mission-driven social enterprise and is most proud of the influence Banqer is having on local communities. For example, a Te Reo version of the platform is being developed, and she hopes that will help improve financial literacy in Māori communities. Kendall is a firm believer that when it comes to money, knowledge is power. If Banqer can arm young people with the skills they need to make smart and informed financial choices as adults, they will have helped to reduce inequality, crippling debt, and poverty in New Zealand - and around the world.
Māori Entrepreneurial Leader Award
The award recognises a person who has created/built/is building a successful business and through that is a role model for other Māori.
Maruhaeremuri Nihoniho MNZM
Maruhaeremuri is the managing director, game producer and designer at Metia Interactive, an award-winning game development studio founded in 2003. Under Maru’s leadership Metia developed SPARX, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Auckland. SPARX is an animated 3D game to help rangatahi learn life skills to combat depression by completing challenges based on proven cognitive behavioural therapies. The game has been proven to have a significant positive impact on young people aged 12 to 19 years. SPARX has won awards including the 2011 United Nations World Summit Awards in the e-Health and Environment category.Her first commercial title ‘Cube’, a puzzle game for the PlayStation Portable, was published in 2007 and released worldwide. Maru’s latest game, Tākaro, is an interactive platform to teach rangatahi in New Zealand schools to strengthen spatial awareness skills and strategies and learn coding concepts that will build confidence in STEM.
Maru has provided mentoring and advice to those looking to get into game development and has given talks at schools and industry events.
In October 2016 she was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in gaming and mental health and awarded the Innovator of the Year in the 2017 MCV Pacific Women in Games Awards from Microsoft Xbox. In August 2017 Maru was appointed to the Māori Television Board.
Māori Woman Business Leader Award
The award recognises a Māori woman who has achieved significant success in her career to date.
Rachel Taulelei MNZM
Rachel is the CEO of Kono NZ. Kono is a Māori-owned top 100 New Zealand food and drinks company employing over 400 staff. Kono farm over 530 hectares of land and sea and export to over 25 countries. Their products include Tohu and Aronui wines, Kono mussels, Annies fruit bars, and Tutū cider. Founder of acclaimed sustainable seafood company Yellow Brick Road, Rachel was formerly NZ Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles. She is a fierce advocate of New Zealand’s primary industry and the sustainability of the country’s resources, and has spent 20 years promoting Aotearoa as a world-class producer of food and beverages.
Her directorships include Moana New Zealand, Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, New Zealand Wine Growers, Aquaculture New Zealand, the Sir Peter Blake Trust and the Young Enterprise Trust.In 2012 Rachel was the recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award and in 2015 was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality. In 2017 Rachel was named a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship.
Rachel is passionate about Māori excellence and is committed to ensuring she plays a role in creating a space where capability meets potential. Through the work she does, opportunities are created for rangatahi to shine.
Māori Governance Leader Award
This award recognises a person who has achieved exceptional success in governance roles in a kaupapa Māori business and has demonstrated outstanding leadership characteristics.
“E noho koe ki te ngaki i nga werawera a o matua tipuna mo nga uri whakatipu.” Whaimutu is constantly reminded of the strictures of his elders to realise the aspirations of the people for the generations that follow and has an intense interest in the role of economics and governance in New Zealand and Māori economic development.
He is a member of the board of Contact Energy and the Chairman of Ngāti Porou Forests, Moana New Zealand, Sealord Group and Ngāti Porou Seafoods. Whaimutu is non-executive director of the Treasury Board and a member of the board of Ngāti Porou Holding Company, and has held a considerable number of previous directorships.
In the course of his career Whaimutu has been instrumental in developments in New Zealand constitutional law, particularly the recognition of property rights of Māori people secured under the Treaty of Waitangi and setting up governance and execution structures to realise the economic outcomes from that process. He has also negotiated long term and significant joint venture arrangements in the fields of forestry and carbon sequestration as well as seafood harvest and marketing globally. A strong advocate of the revitalisation of te reo Māori, Whaimutu regards the fact he and his wife Judy have raised their children to be fluent in Māori and English languages to be one of the highlights.
Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award
The award recognises a man or woman who has achieved exceptional success in his or her career and has demonstrated outstanding leadership characteristics.
Kauahi is General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikōura (WWK) one of New Zealand’s leading and most recognised Māori tourism experiences and a multi-national and international award winning nature-based tourism company. He is also a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee the Kaikōura Marine Guardians, a panel member of the Governments Tourism Infrastructure Fund and a Director of Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
First employed by WWK as a fifteen-year-old he has moved through the ranks from his entry role as a caregiver (sea sickness bucket emptier) to learn all facets of the business. He has excelled in every position an attitude that ensured he was destined to lead the company at a relatively young age.
When Kauahi was promoted to lead the organisation back in late 2009 it was a difficult time and tourism was entering an uncertain period with the on-going repercussions of the global financial crisis. These effects were further exacerbated by the Christchurch Earthquakes in 2010/11 and then the 2016 Kaikōura Earthquake which severely impacted tourism across the Kaikōura district. Despite a succession of significant economic shocks Kauahi has provided exemplary leadership, dedication and drive to help ensure the business continued. He is now driving the effort to fully recover the business after its most challenging period since it was established in 1987.
Outstanding Māori Business Leadership Award
The award recognises a kaupapa Māori business that has achieved significant success in recent years that demonstrates values that make them a role model for other Māori businesses.
The Iwi Collective Partnership
Established as a limited partnership in October 2010, the Iwi Collective Partnership (ICP) is the largest collective of iwi Māori commercial fisheries interests involving 15 iwi and growing. With concentrations in the Bay of Plenty, Central North Island, East Coast, Taranaki and Northland, iwi members include Ngā Rauru Kiitahi, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Ruanui, Taranaki Iwi, Ngāitai, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Whakatohea, Te Arawa, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Ngāti Whare.
By collectivising 16,000+ metric tonnes of fisheries resources, the ICP can not only optimise returns but develop opportunities that create economies of scale to better manage, protect and grow the fisheries interests of its iwi owners. Maximising revenues through the ICP increases the benefits that iwi members can provide in the form of tertiary scholarships, seafood training grants, iwi development funding and customary fisheries initiatives.
The ICP kaupapa is built on the tenets of transparency and trust, with a strong emphasis on whanaungatanga and fun. The ICP’s members retain their individual autonomy but work collectively to protect the kaupapa and heart of the business. By being actively involved in the management of their fisheries and marine resources through the ICP, iwi can help ensure that their moana is sustainably managed so that it can be enjoyed, not only by iwi, but by future generations of New Zealanders for many years to come.