Winners 2014

Meet the talented business leaders who received the 2014 the University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards.

Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award

Sponsored by the University of Auckland Business School
The Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award recognises outstanding achievement by graduates of the Business School, and excellence in tribal and business endeavours nationwide and internationally.


Winner: Dr Ella Henry
Dr Ella Henry has an academic background in sociology, management studies and Māori development. Her research areas include Māori entrepreneurship, Māori careers, Māori media and screen production. Dr Henry helped to establish Ngā Aho Whakaari, the national representative body for Māori working in film and television in New Zealand, and recently served as its Chair. She has also worked at Radio Waatea, appeared on Māori Television’s Ask Your Auntie programme, and played Auntie Queenie on Shortland Street. She is a past deputy-chair of the Women in Film and Television NZ and a recipient of the Mana Wahine Lifetime Achievement Award.


Winner: Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith is based in London and Castelsagrat, France. She is the Managing Director of Smith Hebert, a boutique advisory and investment firm focused on the consumer goods sector with key clients including Bupa, SABMiller, Kraft and Pearson. Melanie is an advisory board member of Manaia Limited, Chairperson of Whakaako Limited and Chairwoman of La Diosa. She has previously held roles at UK communications company TalkTalk, McKinsey & Company, and Goldman Sachs. Melanie is involved in the Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club, has acted as a business mentor to entrepreneurs, and has set up a charitable trust to fund young Māori women through tertiary education.

Emerging Māori Business Leader Award


Sponsored by Ngāi Tahu Holdings
This new award recognises an individual aged between 20 and 40 who has achieved significant success in his or her career to date and is emerging as a business leader now and in the future.

Winner: Ngarimu Blair
Ngarimu Blair has a long association with the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Board. He developed Auckland’s largest ecological restoration project at Bastion Point, which has employed dozens of iwi members, and also established Tamaki Hikoi, a walking tour of central Auckland Māori sites. In 2011, Ngarimu began to focus on governance roles for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and establish his company Ngatira Consulting. He is now Deputy Chair of Ngati Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, which has an asset base of more than $600 million and 2,600 registered members. He is a shareholder’s appointee to the trust’s subsidiary commercial arm Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa. He is a Treaty settlement negotiator and the Chair of its Treaty Claims team. Ngarimu is a Director of Waterfront Auckland.

Māori Woman Business Leader Award


Sponsored by Ngāti Whātua Örākei
This new award recognises a Māori woman who has achieved significant success in her career, demonstrating outstanding leadership characteristics and significant contribution to the advancement of Māori enterprise.

Winner: Mavis Mullins
Mavis has a wealth of governance experience and, with her husband Koro, is a Director of Paewai Mullins Shearing, a fourth-generation whanau and the first company globally in this sector to achieve ISO 9002 certification. Mavis holds a number of primary sector directorships, chairing Atihau Whanganui Incorporation and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. She is a founding Patron of Agri Women’s Development Trust and a board member of Global Women NZ. A founding member of the Māori Spectrum Trust, Mavis chairs Hautaki Ltd, the New Zealand shareholder within 2degreesmobile, and holds a seat on the 2degrees board.

Outstanding Māori Business Leadership Award


Sponsored by BNZ
This award recognises an organisation that demonstrates excellence and success across four pillars: Governance, leadership, management and strategy; business performance; social/community/ngā tikanga Māori; and environment/sustainability.

Winner: Tainui Group Holdings Limited
Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) is the commercial arm of Waikato-Tainui. A property investment and development company, TGH operates a diversified investment portfolio including retail, residential, commercial, industrial and rural properties. TGH also manages Waikato-Tainui Fisheries, which owns and leases fishing quota and holds shares in Aotearoa Fisheries. The company’s strategy is to identify and grow high-quality assets, and generate income from them. TGH aims to provide consistent, long-term dividends to current and future generations of Waikato-Tainui. The dividends are used for charitable purposes to invest in education, welfare, health, social and cultural facilities and activities, for the benefit of Waikato-Tainui members.

Over the last decade the assets of Tainui Group Holdings have grown by more than $500 million to over $840 million. Signature projects have included the development of New Zealand’s largest shopping centre - The Base, the award winning Novotel Auckland Airport Hotel, and securing a zoning change for Waikato-Tainui land at Ruakura. Recently Tainui Group Holdings has embarked on a new strategy to diversify its investments beyond its strengths in property, acquiring shareholdings in Waikato Milking Systems, Go Bus and Genesis Energy.

“Quality developments and investments … have helped establish an overall billion dollar platform of assets for Waikato-Tainui, built respect for Tainui Group Holdings, and promise a future with more opportunities for … Waikato-Tainui people.”

Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award


Sponsored by the University of Auckland Business School
This award recognises an individual who demonstrates outstanding leadership characteristics including strong vision, inclusive management, governance skills, altruism, humility and making collaborative decisions for the common good.

Winner: Kingi Smiler
Kingi Smiler is a Chartered Accountant and was a partner in Ernst Young working in both New Zealand and Canada.
Kingi’s involvement in Māori land issues and Māori economic development started in the 1970s. As a long-standing member of the Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) he was a representative for Māori in his director roles on the New Zealand Wool Board and the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

He also worked with FOMA to amend the legislation on the lease in perpetuity regime.

He has taken a key leadership role as Chairman of the Tairawhiti Land Development Trust and the Ahuwhenua Trophy Māori Excellence in Farming Competition, which has seen the sector make some significant economic gains.

Kingi has been the driving force behind the establishment of the first whanau owned dairy processor Miraka, which is the largest collaborative new venture undertaken in the Māori agrarian sector. Kingi is Chairman of Miraka and Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, who is one of the cornerstone shareholders of Miraka.

In recognition of his leadership in the primary sector Kingi was awarded the Federated Farmers 2013 Allflex Agribusiness Person of the Year for his gifted business leadership.

This year Miraka won the inaugural He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Award for Māori Excellence in Export at the New Zealand International Business event held in Auckland.