Umanga Whanaungatanga: Māori Business Recognition Award

The Māori Business Recognition Award showcases the success of an existing Māori-based business making waves nationally and internationally. The past winners are:

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007


Wakatū Inc

Wakatū Inc, received the Business Recognition Award for its track record of an innovative culture whilst staying true to Māoritanga, and the application of core Māori values in business and the wider community of Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Tama and Te Atiawa. This company has been built from grassroots into a strong international label with a global customer case.

Wakatū, a Nelson-based entity set up in 1977, has more than 3000 owners who descend from the original Māori landowners in Nelson, Tasman and Golden Bay. From an $11 million asset base in 1977, the enterprise is now worth more than $250 million, with land-based assets making up nearly three-quarters of its business and the rest from Kono, a food and beverage business.

Wakatū Inc is now the largest private landowner in the Nelson district and one of the largest employers in the region, contributing significantly to the economic wealth and wellbeing of the community.

Visit the Wakatū Inc website



Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu

Ngāi Tahu received this special award for two specific achievements. Following the Christchurch earthquakes, Ngāi Tahu has been a driving force behind the resurrection of a Māori apprenticeship scheme, He Toki ki te Rika, which offers trade training programmes that provide highly skilled Māori trade leaders with the chance to assist in the region’s rebuild. This programme is unique in its structure – an iwi-led partnership between Ngāi Tahu, the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Hawkins Construction, with support from Te Puni Kokiri, the Tertiary Education Commission and the Ministry for Social Development. So far, more than 350 Māori have taken part in the programme – a staggering achievement.

Ngāi Tahu has also supported its Papatipu Rūnanga to develop an authentication scheme that ensures pounamu taken to market is certified genuine New Zealand stone. The Ngai Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme offers a traceability code that identifies origin and whakapapa of the stone, how it was extracted and processed, and who the artist was that carved it. The scheme has gone from strength to strength since it was established in 2010.

Visit the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu website



Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Māori Trust Board (now known as Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Ltd)

Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Māori Trust Board received the Special Recognition Award for excellence in tribal strategic thinking, planning and implementation with regard to business education and contribution to the spiritual, social and economic betterment of the Auckland region. This organisation oversees the collective activities of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei hapū, Te Tāōū, Te Uringutu and Nga Oho, part of Ngāti Whātua iwi in Auckland. More than 5000 people scattered throughout the world belong to this hapū, which is based around the Ōrākei Marae.

Visit the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei website



Wairakei Terraces, Ngāti Tūwharetoa - Rauhoto, Ruingarangi, Te Urunga, Te Kapa o Te Rangiita, Ngāti Tahu

Wairakei Terraces received special commendation for excellence in hapū strategic planning in the sector of Māori tourism. Wairakei Terraces is a success story of a shared vision and cooperation between the then state-owned enterprise, Contact Energy, and a small group of Taupo Māori who possessed the passion and commitment to secure the stories of Wairakei, Ngātoroirangi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Over the past 16 years Wairakei Terraces have been developing the original pink terraces of Wairakei, geyser and pools that had gradually diminished with the construction of a geothermal power scheme. The re-fashioning of silica terraces over three stages has now produced terraces reminiscent of the magnificent pink and white versions that disappeared during the volcanic eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886. Other developments include an evening Māori cultural experience, an educational day walk where visitors can view geothermal features and carvings that depict the history of Māori and New Zealand, a carving house where visitors can watch carvers at work and the reinstated historical "Te Kiri o Hinekai" stream.

Their most recent development has been the establishment of silica enriched bathing pools and traditional Māori massage therapy, mirimiri, which is performed in a purpose built "whare mirimiri" on site. Four bathing pools have been established below the terraces, and as the company positions itself to become a Whānau Ora service provider, it is striving to ensure that the wairoa (spirit) of the water will once again heal the people as it had done for our ancestors hundreds of years ago.

Visit the Wairakei Terraces website



Central North Island Iwi Collective (CNI)

A special commendation was given to the eight iwi in the Central North Island Iwi Collective (CNI) for excellence in tribal strategic planning from 2009 to 2069. The award highlighted the commercial discovery process of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tuhoe, Ngāti Whare, Ngāti Manawa, Raukawa, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Whakaue, and Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

The CNI is a commercial entity based around Māori tikanga and cultural values, with particular emphasis on kaitiakitanga. Its vision is "to protect and promote our culture and values, by generating the income necessary for social, cultural and economic development."

This special commendation acknowledged a remarkable process of inter-tribal leadership and long-term strategic thinking and planning that started around 20 years ago. In July 2009, years of work came to fruition when the Government transferred approximately $450 million in land and cash to the CNI, completing the largest single settlement of historical grievances by the Crown.

The core objective of the CNI commercial portfolio is to maximise the economic value of iwi-owned land-based assets. Given the size and quality of these assets, opportunities and strategies should be global.

There are three major opportunities for the commercialisation of land-based assets in the CNI region. These are the Kaingaroa forest, geothermal energy generation capacity and the possibilities of farming carbon credits under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

As the CNI itself says: "Central North Island iwi with interests in the forestlands are enthusiastic about uniting in a common cause that has long-term benefits for us all. We are now paddling our own waka and, for the first time on this issue, are not passengers in someone else’s waka."

Visit the Central North Island Iwi Collective website



Tuaropaki Trust

A special commendation was given for excellence in whānau strategic planning for food, energy, and communications. Tuaropaki Trust was recognised for its exceptional private sector business development in Aotearoa New Zealand and setting high standards in terms of tikanga Māori and business enterprise. The award represents excellence in strategic thinking, planning, and implementation by a whānau-hapū group.

Tuaropaki Trust began in 1952 when a group of Mokai hapū, Ngāti Parekaawa, Ngāti Te Kohera, Ngāti Wairangi, Ngāti Whaita, Ngāti Moekino, Ngāti Haa and Ngāti Tarakaiahi, amalgamated their titles to form one collective land block. The Tuaropaki land is located at Mokai, 30km northwest of Taupo.

Since its beginnings, the trust's business operation has undergone significant changes. It has progressed from a simple sheep and cattle station to a unique business sector model comprising:

  • Food and fibre production (sheep, wool, cattle, dairy, deer, glasshouse, horticulture and wine)
  • Energy supply (geothermal, electricity generation)
  • Communications (satellite, broadband and third mobile phone network)

For the financial year ended 30 June 2008, the Tuaropaki Trust's balance sheet shows a gross asset valuation of the enterprise is $582 million. Financial independence is firmly entrenched in the leadership of the trust. Owners and their whānau continue to reap financial and social benefits each year. Tuaropaki's contribution to the New Zealand economy as a distinctive Māori entity is a by-product of the dreams and aspirations of its founding elders and successive leaders.

Visit the Tuaropaki Trust website

Fomana Capital

A special commendation was given for excellence in Māori business strategic planning and creating value through exporting and foreign direct investments.

Pounamu Performing Arts

A special commendation was given for promoting Aotearoa New Zealand nationally and internationally.

Pounamu Performing Arts is a family business of Ngapo and Pimia Wehi, the leaders of traditional Māori performing arts in New Zealand. Pounamu, commonly referred to as greenstone, is one of the most prized Māori treasures and symbolises quality.

Founded in 1986, Pounamu has focused on educating Māori youth and adults for further training at tertiary level and for employment as cultural ambassadors. This training and employment has led to extensive national and international travel, representing New Zealand. Tour programmes and performances have always maintained a high standard in traditional Māori performing arts, ensuring the cultural integrity, authenticity and true essence of Māori culture is portrayed.

Visit the Pounamu Performing Arts website



Ngāti Kuta me Patukeha ki te Rāwhiti

Ngāti Kuta me Patukeha ki te Rāwhiti was given a special commendation for excellence in strategic planning.
Te Rāwhiti Marae is the ancestral marae of the eastern Bay of Islands. The two major hapū of Te Rāwhiti, Ngāti Kuta and Patukeha, may be considered to own the marae, but are, in truth, the kaitiaki (guardians), for generations of the past and those of the future.

Ngāti Kuta me Patukeha ki te Rāwhiti were recognised for their strategic plan Economic Whakapapa, which covered 200 years. The whakapapa of economics began with their ancestors and went in to the future for their descendants. This concept, developed over a weekend, is used in university teaching. This small community is honoured for its efforts to provide a holistic economy for its people to participate in.

In the Te Rāwhiti Marae Strategic Plan, the Marae is confirmed as an intrinsic part of the social and cultural fabric of the community. The strands of the fabric are more than its social and cultural aspects. With expanded vision, a number of pathways to progress the development of the community have been identified, educationally, environmentally and economically.

In these future plans, the Marae remains central. The pathways define the potential in the community and the opportunities which offer fresh avenues, making the future an exciting prospect. Larger, renovated buildings will complement the expected activities.

Visit the Te Rāwhiti Marae website