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Māori Enterprise thriving at Otago Polytechnic and Otago’s School of Business

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Friday 19 December 2014 5:20pm

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The University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic are collaborating with PowerHouse IP Commercialisation Company and Te Puni Kōkiri on an innovative student enterprise programme, He Kākano, which has been run for a second year over November and December, 2014.

The four-week intensive learning experience aims to foster a culture of Māori entrepreneurship among Otago students and the wider community.

He Kākano is supported by several University of Otago entities – the Otago Business School, Research and Enterprise, Continuing Education and the Office of Māori Development – and also involves the Otago Polytechnic.

Twelve Māori students from across the four academic divisions at the University and four from the Otago Polytechnic, most of whom are final year students with an interest in entrepreneurship, took part in the 2014 He Kākano programme. He Kākano began with two days of learning and team work at Puketeraki Marae in Karitāne and is culminating with the students pitching a business idea to a ‘Taniwha Den’ of judges, today, Friday, 19 December.

“He Kākano is exciting and innovative in its method of delivery and its content. The programme introduces participants to kaupapa Māori business values, the historical and contemporary context of the Māori economy, to Māori businesses and entrepreneurs, and to business models and planning tools which can all be applied in further study or potential businesses going forward,” says Janine Kapa-Blair, Associate Dean Māori at the Otago Business School, and a member of the Project Team overseeing He Kākano.

“It provides tauira (students) with an intensive, real world, skill-building experience and a practical understanding of what is required to identify, evaluate, develop and execute a new Māori business opportunity,” says Ms Kapa-Blair.

Business advisors and mentors, from both inside and outside the University and Polytechnic, were involved in He Kākano this year. Among the high-profile guest speakers were Metiria Turei- the Green Party co-leader; Ian Taylor from Animation Research Limited; Hoani Langsbury of Pukekura Penguins; Reuben Skipper from Timely; Paula Hellyer of Glow Consulting; Lloyd McGinty from Ahika Consultants; Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana of Cadbury’s;

Kiwibank business managers Mike Maguire and Wayne McCaughan, and Heidi Renata from Vodafone.

The ultimate challenge of the programme was for teams of four to form a business concept which focused on ‘Kaitiakitanga’ (guardianship/stewardship). From these beginnings, many new business ventures may grow.

“E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea”
I will never be lost, for I am a seed sown in Rangiātea

For further information, contact:

Janine Kapa-Blair, Associate Dean (Māori)
Otago Business School
University of Otago

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