Hokianga-born and raised Matua Rereata Makiha (Ngāti Whakaheke, Te Aupōuri, Te Arawa) received the Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award which recognises a graduate of the University of Auckland Business School who has achieved significant success in their career. The renowned Māori astrologer, cultural adviser, and former broadcaster is currently curating pathways to practice ancient traditions within Te Ao Māori.
Takurua (Tak) Mutu (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Hurunga, Ngāti Pikiao), the co-owner and director of adventure sport and tourism company Multi-Day Adventures Ltd received the Young Māori Business Leader Award. Tak, who has worked in the adventure tourism industry since leaving high school, leads the rapidly expanding whanau-oriented business and is skilled in white water rafting, mountain biking, sea kayaking, and bush craft – to name just a few.
Francis and Kaiora Tipene (Taitokerau) of Tipene Funerals received the Māori Entrepreneurial Leader Award in recognition of building a successful business and through that being a role model for other Māori. The qualified funeral directors set up their company primarily to cater to Māori. The husband and wife duo integrate Te Reo Māori and Tikanga when caring for grieving families, and are stars of the TV doco-reality show The Casketeers, which was picked up by international streaming service Netflix.
The Māori Woman Business Leader Award went to Pania Tyson-Nathan (Rongomaiwahine, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou) in recognition of her significant career success. Pania has contributed significantly to Māori economic development and is the current Chief Executive of New Zealand Māori Tourism, as well as sitting on the Board of the New Zealand Film Commission, Trade Advisory Board, and the Kahungunu Asset Holding Company. Her experience also includes membership of the Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance and the Māori Economic Advisory Board.
Paul Te Poa Karoro Morgan QSO (Ngāti Rārua, Te Māhurehure), chair of the board of Wakatū incorporation, received the Māori Governance Leader Award. With more than 30 years at the forefront of Māori economic development, Paul has also been involved with a range of Māori rights issues involving natural resources, including fishing, aquaculture and forestry. Under Paul’s leadership, Wakatūhas adopted an ambitious values-based intergenerational strategy that spans 500 years – Te Pae Tawhiti.
Ricky Houghton (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whātua) received the Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award in recognition of his exceptional career success and outstanding leadership characteristics. Ricky is the CEO of social services provider He Korowai Trust in Kaitaia which delivers a range of options for whanau in need. After working with Waipareira Trust for more than 20 years, Ricky returned home to the Far North some 17 years ago, with a dream and vision of helping his own people to achieve Tino Rangatiratanga.
The first Māori owned and managed vertically integrated dairy factory, Miraka, which received the Outstanding Māori Business Leadership Award in recognition of a kaupapa Māori business achieving significant success. Based at Mokai and guided by the values of Kaitiakitanga, Tikanga, excellence, innovation and integrity, Miraka distinguished itself as the first independent New Zealand milk company to achieve profitability within its first year of operation.