Hundreds of smart, ambitious and innovative Māori entrepreneurs will spend this Saturday focusing on how technology can help realise their business dreams.
They will be attending the annual Matariki XPonential event, hosted by Callaghan Innovation and featuring a stellar lineup of established and emerging innovators.
The government innovation agency's purpose is to help businesses succeed through technology by preparing Kiwi businesses for the future, thereby helping to make New Zealand more confident and successful as a country.
“In a world of increasingly fast-paced technological change, we need to embrace the future by encouraging more marriages between Māori and technology," says Vinnie Campbell, Callaghan Innovation's Māori economy group manager.
The world is facing unprecedented technological change, he says, with possibilities offered by artificial intelligence, robots, digitisation, bioengineering and other innovations.
“We know that there are some highly successful Māori-hi-tech marriages, proving how Māori can not only survive but thrive into the future while maintaining their authenticity. We already work with some of them.
“We want to showcase some of these success stories, encourage others, prompt thinking and discussion about the possibilities, and work with many more,” Campbell says.
“We want Māori front-footing this change. It's too exciting to miss.
Five hundred attendees have registered for the event in Rotorua which features a lineup of some of New Zealand's best-known innovators and entrepreneurs including Cliff Curtis of Whenua Films, Ian Taylor of Animation Research and Rachel Taulelei of Kono NZ.
Emerging talent such as Tarnix Security's Tupaea Rolleston – who at the age of 23, employs 24 staff in his hi-tech security business – and Miriana Lowrie, founder and CEO of 1Cent re, which digitises and streamlines trade credit account processes, will also feature.
Mr Campbell says the speakers will help lead the way for Māori, in part by creating a mindset shift.
“Matariki XPonential is about providing opportunities to meet like-minded Māori entrepreneurs, learn from one another, build connections, and offer attendees practical pathways to help them achieve business innovation success.
“We want to motivate and inspire business leaders to become more ambitious about their innovation, and provoke discussion about what exponential technology can do for Māori business and entrepreneurs.
Maori business is a large and growing proportion of New Zealand's economy, with a recent report estimating its worth at $50 billion.
Campbell says the potential to increase that through innovation and technology was clearly recognised by partners the Maori Women's Development Incorporation and GHA.
“They are fantastic supporters and enablers of Maori business innovation success and we're delighted to have them alongside us. Ka mau te wehi!
Callaghan Innovation is committed to helping grow the Maori economy through services that nurture and challenge businesses, connect like minds, help navigate innovation and open up funding channels.