Māori business leaders honoured at annual awards

09 March 2011

Banker Sir Ralph Norris and Rotorua-based tourism operator Wairakei Terraces have taken out the major individual awards at the 2010 Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Business Leaders Awards held by The University of Auckland Business School tonight.

Sir Ralph (Ngāti Hine), the chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, was named the Outstanding Māori Business Leader for 2010 for his outstanding business leadership and service both to the community and private sector banking nationally and internationally.

Best known in New Zealand as a former chief executive of Air New Zealand, Sir Ralph headed the ASB Bank – a Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s New Zealand subsidiary – before moving to Australia several years ago.

In receiving the award, Sir Ralph follows in the footsteps of an esteemed group of Māori leaders such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Howard Morrison, Brett Shepherd and Peter Cooper.

Wairakei Terraces (Ngāti Tuwharetoa-Rauhoto, Ruingarangi, Te Urunga, Te Kapa o Te Rangiita, Ngāti Tahu) clinched a special Commendation for Excellence in hapū strategic planning in the sector of Māori tourism.

The company - formed through a co-operative between the then State-owned Contact Energy and a small group of local Māori - now attracts national and international tourists each year to the redevelopment of original Wairakei Terraces and geysers that had disappeared with the construction of the Wairakei Geothermal Powerstation in the 1950s.

Business School Associate Dean of Māori and Pacific Development Dr Manuka Henare says the two major winners are examples of outstanding commitment and dedication to Aotearoa New Zealand's economy, and worthy of commendation.

"This award recognises the part that Sir Ralph and Wairakei Terraces have made to the development of the Aotearoa New Zealand economy, and in particular the progression of Māori businesses nationally and internationally," Dr Henare says.

Other winners tonight are:

Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award Winners:
Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi), the director of the James Henare Research Centre, to mark her outstanding achievement by an Alumni of the Business School and to honour her exceptional leadership in research as well as the world of Māori business development.

Dan Walker (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine Rangi, Ngāti Kahungungu, Tainui, Te Arawa, Ngā Rauru), national commercial sales manager for the Noel Leeming Group, for his exceptional leadership in the commercial business sector, as well as his involvement with tribal entities.

Dr Chellie Spiller (Ngāti Kahungungu), a lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, for recognition of her outstanding achievements as an Alumni of the School, and to honour her exceptional leadership in the tourism and Maori tourism sector, as well as academic success as a Kelly scholar.

Maxine Shortland (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Porou), the general manager of Mātauranga Whānui, Ngāti Hine Health Trust , for her outstanding achievements as an Alumnus of the Business School and to honour her exceptional leadership in the Māori health sector.

Te Toi Ururoa Kelly Scholarship recipients:
Luke Butters (Ngāti Kahungungu) and Korey Te Hira (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) both received 2010 Te Toi Ururoa Kelly Scholarships.

Established in 2004, the Business School awards aim to encourage a growing network of Māori business leaders and alumni and to recognise and celebrate the successes of the best of Māori business leadership.