Winners 2018

Meet the talented business leaders who received the 2018 University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards at a ceremony held on 10 May 2019.

Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award

The award recognises a graduate of the University of Auckland Business School who has achieved significant success in their career to date.

Matua Rereata Makiha

Matua Rereata Makiha

Ngāti Whakaheke, Te Aupōuri, Te Arawa

Matua Rereata Makiha was born and raised in the Hokianga, where he attended Northland College. He studied Social Sciences at Victoria University Wellington and Māori Business at the University of Auckland, where he was awarded the Dean’s Prize.

“The real learning started when I was 18, spending eight years being taught in the ancient whare wānanga,” says Rereata, who qualified with a PhD in Native Ancient Knowledge.

Rereata is a renowned Māori astrologer and a leading authority on the Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar). He is currently curating pathways to practice ancient traditions within Te Ao Māori.

Rereata shares his extensive knowledge as a cultural adviser, having held roles at the Auckland Council as a kaiārahi tikanga Māori and Kaumātua at the University of Auckland Business School.

Rereata is a former broadcaster with more than four decades experience as a reporter, news editor, director and television presenter. He has held senior positions at TVNZ, including the Te Karere and Marae programmes, and Māori Television.

Sponsored by the University of Auckland Business School.

Young Māori Business Leader Award

This award recognises a person under 35 who has achieved significant success in their career to date and is a business leader now and in the future.

Takurua (Tak) Mutu

Tak Mutu

Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Hurunga, Ngāti Pikiao

Tak Mutu is co-owner and director of adventure sport and tourism company Multi-Day Adventures Ltd.

Tak has worked in the adventure tourism industry since leaving high school, and has skills in whitewater rafting, whitewater sledging, mountain biking, bushcraft, emergency response, sea kayaking and river rescue.

In 2009, Tak bought into Multi-Day Adventures with his mentors and friends, Nick and Kimi Chater, and started to move into a role split between outdoor guiding and administration of the business.

2011 saw the buyout of the original partners, and the business moved into a growth phase: increasing staff from six to 45 and the creation of two more subsidiary companies to complement the brand, including the very successful Mountain Bike Rotorua.

The group is led by Tak and includes his brother Tu, cousin Ariki, and high school friend Megan. It has seen rapid expansion since the family took over in 2011 and there never seems to be a shortage of new developments for the whānau-orientated business.

Sponsored by Ngāi Tahu Holdings.

Māori Entrepreneurial Leader Award

This award recognises a person who has created/built/is building a successful business and through that is a role model for other Māori.

Francis and Kaiora Tipene

Francis and Kaiora Tipene


Francis and Kaiora Tipene are company directors of Tipene Funerals. Both Francis and Kaiora are qualified funeral directors and together they operate two branches in Tāmaki Makaurau, serving over 500 loved ones a year. Tipene Funerals was setup primarily to cater to, for and by Māori. Due to demand for their simple care-manaaki, they now provide for all cultures.

The husband and wife duo are stars of the TV doco-reality programme The Casketeers, which recently won Best Original Reality Series at the Huawei NZTV Awards. Their show was picked up by international streaming service Netflix, which is currently screening season one of The Casketeers. Francis and Kaiora are now recognised globally for the services they provide, because of the love and care they have for loved ones and their grieving families. The couple were recently listed as one of New Zealand’s ‘power couples’.

Francis and Kaiora are Māori proud and enjoy integrating Te Reo Māori and Tikanga practices when caring for grieving families. The couple are recognised for their professional standards and are instrumental in growing trends in the funeral industry. They are also proud, busy parents of six boys. Francis and Kaiora can’t stress enough the importance of ‘wā whānau’.

Sponsored by He Kai Kei Aku Ringa.

Māori Woman Business Leader Award

This award recognises a Māori woman who has achieved significant success in her career to date.

Pania Tyson-Nathan

Pania Tyson-Nathan

Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou

Pania Tyson-Nathan is Chief Executive of New Zealand Māori Tourism (NZMT), a role she has held since 2009.

Throughout her career, Pania has contributed to Māori economic development across the private and public sectors. She draws on that experience to focus on tourism as a key opportunity for Māori economic growth, transforming the stereotypical entertainment concept of Māori culture for visitors to a deeper cultural understanding and a broader range of Māori tourism experiences.

Pania was Director of the APEC Business Coalition in the lead up to and following Aotearoa New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 1999, and was the Aotearoa New Zealand focal point for the Women’s Leaders Network until 2005.

Her experience includes membership on the Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance and the Māori Economic Advisory Board.

She is currently on the Board of New Zealand Film Commission, Trade Advisory Board and the Kahungunu Asset Holding Company.

Sponsored by Te Tumu Paeroa.

Māori Governance Leader Award

This award recognises a person who has achieved exceptional successin governance roles in a kaupapa Māori business and has demonstrated outstanding leadership characteristics.

Paul Te Poa Karoro Morgan QSO

Paul Te Poa Karoro Morgan

Ngāti Rārua, Te Māhurehure

Paul Te Poa Karoro Morgan has been at the forefront of economic development for Māori in business for over 30 years. He has been involved with a range of Māori rights issues involving natural resources, including fishing, aquaculture and forestry.

Paul is chair of the board of Wakatū Incorporation. Under Paul’s leadership, Wakatū has adopted an ambitious values-based intergenerational strategy that spans 500 years – Te Pae Tawhiti. He is also chair of Kono NZ LP, Wakatū’s wholly-owned food and beverage business.

Paul is a member of Kāhui Wai Māori (the Māori Freshwater Forum), director of Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga (the High Value Nutrition Science Challenge), and managing director of Fomana Capital Ltd.

Past roles include chief executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities, chair of Tohu Wines and Honeylab Ltd, trustee for the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, and director of Aquaculture New Zealand, Port Nicholson Fisheries Ltd, NIWA, Richmond Meats and Landcorp Farming Ltd.

Paul was awarded a QSO for services to Māori business in the 2010 New Years Honours.

Paul is passionate about his whānau and whānau whānui, and investing in and building a new future for the generations to come. He believes in making a positive difference in the Māori community and to Aotearoa as a whole.

Sponsored by Chapman Tripp.

Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award

This award recognises a person who has achieved exceptional success in their career and has demonstrated outstanding leadership characteristics.

Ricky Houghton

Ricky Houghton

Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whātua

Ricky Houghton is CEO of social services provider He Korowai Trust in Kaitaia. After working with Waipareira Trust in a number of roles for more than 20 years, Ricky returned home over 17 years ago to the Far North with a dream and vision of helping his own people to achieve Tino Rangatiratanga.

Ricky is an entrepreneur who sees a ‘problem’ as an opportunity. He is not afraid to front up and face the problem with whoever he needs to get the job done – including his close relationships with government ministers. Through this strength and tenacity, he has led the development of He Korowai to its place today, delivering a range of options for whānau in need. He is a leader with integrity who isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions when needed.

If asked how he would like to be remembered, Ricky’s typical response would be “someone who has been there to support, help, encourage and, most importantly, loved the people he serves.”

Ricky is married with three children, 12 mokopuna and five great-grand mokopuna who have successfully achieved and share the vision and dream of their Papa.

Sponsored by BNZ.

Outstanding Māori Business Leadership Award

This 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.


Miraka factory

Miraka is New Zealand’s first Māori-owned and managed vertically integrated dairy factory. Established in 2011, Miraka is the result of Māori whānau looking to add value beyond the farm gate by investing in the manufacture and marketing of their products directly to a global market.

Miraka is the first independent New Zealand milk company to achieve profitability within its first year of operation.

The values that guide the Miraka are Kaitiakitanga, Tikanga, Excellence, Innovation and Integrity. The vision of ‘Nurturing our World’ as Kaitiaki captures succinctly the role of stewardship: representing a traditional Māori worldview of deep connection between people and the natural world; the responsibility to look after natural resources to ensure their survival for future generations; and extending that care to the kai Miraka produces, ensuring it is safe and of the highest quality for its consumers.

The unique aspects of environmental care operating at the Miraka site in Mokai include the use of renewable energy from nearby geothermal fields; the processing of by-products on a nearby worm farm; and the irrigation of local farms with water extracted from the milk.

In 2016, the company introduced a sophisticated farm excellence programme, Te Ara Miraka, focusing on production efficiency on farms and building sustainable businesses.

Sponsored by Asia New Zealand Foundation.