Empowering Māori Entrepreneurship

Turning Maori business ideas into a reality is the aim of a new series of online and regional wānanga being organised by Tapuwae Roa.  The Rakahinonga wananga are aimed at providing aspiring Māori entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and support to transform their aspirations into tangible ventures.

Tapuwae Roa was borne out of the Māori fishery settlement in the 1990s and has a mission to grow Māori leadership in economic development.   CEO Te Puoho Kātene said Tapuwae Roa provides grants, invests in leadership growth and development across the motu.

The Rakahinonga Roadshow, the first of its kind, travels nationally, covering towns like Whāngārei, Tāmaki, Kirikiriroa, Ōtepoti, Ōtaki, and Tūranga.  Kātene said this is not a one-off, as the trust plans to extend its reach into various regions to ensure Māori nationwide have access to the programme.

“Rakahinonga is not a one-size-fits-all approach to entrepreneurship. It is designed to be deeply embedded in Māori culture, with the goal of infusing wairua and tikanga into the business development process. The initiative aims to break down barriers and encourage Māori to pursue economic independence, fostering a sense of autonomy within whānau, hapu, and iwi,” he said.

To address potential hurdles like startup capital, Kātene said connecting Māori entrepreneurs with existing networks, such as Amotai (the Māori procurement agency) and Poutama Trust, who provide a range of support mechanisms for Maori businesses.

Kātene said that Māori possess the capability for entrepreneurship, and the primary obstacle is often self-doubt. Through Rakahinonga and similar initiatives, Tapuwae Roa seeks to create a supportive ecosystem where Māori entrepreneurs can thrive.

Te Pūoho Kātene encouraged interested individuals to register for Rakahinonga online through their website tapuwaeroa.org.  Registration is free, and participants are invited to bring their whānau for support. The ultimate goal is to empower Māori entrepreneurs, ensuring that nothing stands in their way as they embark on their business journey.