Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year 2023

This Award is for the Business School student who has displayed excellence in community service, communication skills, extra-curricular activities, academic performance, and knowledge of world issues.

A group of six young Māori and Pacific students

Māori Business Student of the Year 2023 (Joint Award)

A young Māori woman and a young Māori man, holding certificates and standing beside a third man

Te Iwitoa Kruger-Taylor

"I stand by this whakatauki: 'Ko au te hue o tēnei taunake ō Tūhoe me Ngāti Maniapoto.' I am studying Business, majoring in Finance and Marketing. I have a strong conviction that I am not an individual, I am an iwi. I have a whakapapa to the land, to the past, to the present and to the future. That whakapapa is our responsibility. My values are strong and my feet are grounded in tikana Tūhoe, tikana Maniapoto."

Brandon Jost-Turei

Brandon Jost-Turei is a third-year International Business and Marketing tauira. He was born and bred in Papakura, with his whakapapa flowing back to Tainui and the Taranaki Iwi. Yet, he feels his wairua was derived in Papakura, and he is passionate to uplift those from similar communities as him. Taking advantage of the privileges university exposes him to has allowed Brandon to be on the Dean's Leadership Award Programme, and the US-NZ Youth Council, and this year alone, Brandon has been blessed to have travelled to India on a Prime Minister's Scholarship and is fresh off the plane from Malaysia, participating in the Te Hononga-ā-Kiwa programme. 

Pacific Business Student of the Year 2023

A smiling young Pacific woman holding a certificate and standing next to another man

Tayla-Rae Hall

Tayla-Rae is in her final year studying a Bachelor of Law and Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Marketing. She hails from the almighty 685 in Samoa and is passionate about serving her community and improving the well-being of Pasifika people and wider Aotearoa. She is President of the University of Auckland Pasifika Commerce Association, known as Commerce 'o Pasifika, for 2023. She also sits on the executive board of the Auckland University Pasifika Island Student Association. On top of her full-time studies, she is a Business Tuakana Tutor and works part-time at the Grey Lynn Returned Services Club. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym and spending time with her family. Over the summer, she moved to Wellington and interned at the Commerce Commission, where she worked in the Product Safety and Consumer Information Standards Team within the Fair Trading Branch. Her project focused on the new sunscreen standards coming into force this September. Tayla is always up for a challenge, and she is grateful to be given the opportunity to be here tonight.

Māori Business Student of the Year 2022

Manaaki Janssen-Davis

Manaaki Janssen-Davis is in his third and final year studying a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Taxation. From the East Coast, Te Tai Rawhiti, Manaaki grew up in the mighty West Auckland and was the head boy at Massey High School in 2019. Manaaki has been awarded the Kelly Undergraduate Business and Economics Entry Level scholarships. He has interned at Deloitte and is looking forward to a graduate role in 2023. A Treasurer for Commerce o Pasifika and a Tuakana tutor for stage one accounting, Manaaki is passionate about helping others and giving back to his community. Also likes to indulge in food and hang out with friends and family.

Pacific Business Student of the Year 2022

Salvis Laurenson

Salvis is a proud Samoan and his big family of 11 migrated here in 2007. He attended Aorere College was the Head Boy and the Dux in his final year. Currently in his final year studying a conjoint BCom/BSci degrees. A humble recipient of multiple recognizable scholarships and awards including the UoA Top Scholar Scholarship 2017, won the EY future leader award for the General BSOTY held this and many others. A defining moment in his life was serving as a volunteer proselytizing Church Mission in Madagascar from 2018-2020. He is part of the Transformations Space at PwC and is the Head Tutor of the Business Tuakana Programme at UoA. He loves his family, is a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ, and a loyal supporter of the Penrith Panthers!

Competition guide

The Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year award assesses students on the following criteria:

  • Communication, including written, informal and prepared speech
  • Service to the community
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Academic performance
  • Business, national and world events


All full-time students with Māori or Pacific Island heritage who are currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce, or a Bachelor of Property at the University are eligible.

Students enrolled in conjoint degrees are also eligible, as long as one of their degrees is Commerce or Property. Students must have completed at least two semesters of study before they are eligible to enter.

Assessment process

Candidates for the Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year must submit:

  1. A one-page cover letter explaining how you meet the above criteria by answering the two questions detailed on the application form
  2. A transcript of your complete academic record at the University of Auckland including any conjoint degree (unofficial)
  3. A copy of your CV (maximum two A4 pages)
  4. A completed entry form  

Judging process

Stage 1

Each finalist will participate in four five-minute interviews with four judges. The topic of the interviews may cover:

  • Your extra-curricular activities
  • Your involvement in community, voluntary and service
  • World events
  • National events
  • Business events
  • Role of ethics in business
  • Career plans

Stage 2

Each candidate will make a five-minute speech on the topic. The topic will be announced to the finalists when they are shortlisted. This will take place in an open forum with invited guests including friends and whānau on Thursday 24 August. 

The prize

  • Māori Business Student of the Year $650 prize money
  • Pacific Business Student of the Year $650 prize money
  • Winners will have a photo and brief bio on the Business School's "Best in Business" display

All finalists will also receive a certificate. This year's competition is sponsored by EY and all finalists are invited to an event with EY representatives.

Application form

Applications for 2023 are now closed.

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

Willie Uili
Student Support Adviser
The University of Auckland Business School
Phone: +64 9 923 7120
Email: w.uili@auckland.ac.nz.

Lizzie Morris
Employer Liaison Manager
The University of Auckland Business School
Email: lizzie.morris@auckland.ac.nz