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Nominations open for Akl Uni’s Maori Business Leaders Awards

20 Feb 2018

Do you know an outstanding Māori business leader? Kei te mōhio koe ki tētahi kaiārahi pakihi Māori e eke panuku ana? ​Kua puta te karanga, tukuna mai ō tautapanga mō Ngā Tohu Kaiārahi Pakihi Māori o Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki-makau-rau.

The call is out for nominations for the University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards. Blanche Morrogh (nee Murray) of Kai Ora Honey says winning the Young Māori Business Leader Award last year “broke down fear barriers” for the Far North-based whānau business.

“It was motivating and inspiring and gave us the courage to push forward with our ‘outside the box’ ideas,” says Morrogh, who was also a finalist for Next Women of the Year 2017 in the Business and Innovation category.

Another past winner, Karen Vercoe, says the award generated attention and business.

“I received numerous client calls, I was contacted for commercial and not for profit boards, I have been asked to mentor Māori startup entrepreneurs; but more importantly the positive role model effect on my whānau has been wonderful.”

She has just left the consulting business she founded to take up the role of CEO at Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Other past winners include Blanche Murray, Bailey Mackey, Hinerangi Raumati, Ngarimu Blair, Jamie Tuuta, Miriana Stephens, Mavis Mullins, Jason Witehira, Kingi Smiler and Ian Taylor.

Previous organisation award winners include Kahungunu Asset Holding Company, Ngāi Tahu Holdings, Tainui Group Holdings, Tuaropaki Trust and Wakatū.

The Māori economy is growing faster than the wider New Zealand economy.

It ballooned from an estimated asset base of $9.4 billion in 2001 to $50 billion in 2017, with some analysts forecasting it could top $100 billion in the next few years.

Iwi controlled post-settlement assets alone are now worth $7.8 billion, with that figure predicted to reach $12 billion by 2026.

Business School Māori and Pacific associate dean Associate Professor Carla Houkamau says, “This is an opportunity to recognise the massive contributions made by Māori business leaders – both individuals and organisations – to a buoyant economy grounded in Māori worldviews, and we warmly encourage nominations.”

The award categories are Outstanding Māori Business Leader, Māori Women Business Leader, Young Māori Business Leader (aged under 35), Māori Governance Leader, Māori Entrepreneurial Leader, and a category for organisations: Outstanding Māori Business Leadership.

Nominations close March 16, and winners will be announced at a dinner in Auckland on May 4. Further details can be found on the University of Auckland business school website.

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