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Entries Called For 2005 Maori Business Awards

17 May 2005

Entries Called For 2005 Maori Business Awards MWDI to honour Maori Businessmen as well as Businesswomen

Auckland, 17 May 2005 - Entries are being called for this year's prestigious Maori Business Awards.

Held every two years the Awards were set up by the Maori Women's Development Incorporation (MWDI) in 1995 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Maori women in business.

For the first time, the Awards are open to Maori businessmen as well as women. The awards were formerly known as the Maori Women's Business Awards.

There are now 14 awards in total. There are six major prizes: Te Kaipakihi Tino Taumata Tohu (Overall Excellence in Business) Te Mana Wahine Tohu (Best Women in Business) Te Mana Tane Tohu (Best Men in Business) Te Kaipakihi Ahorangi Tohu (Best Professional in Business) Nga Whaea o te Motu Tohu (Best Small Business) Te Ahu Mahi Tohu (Best Business Employment Creation)

In addition eight Nga Perehitini Tohu (Best Regional Business) awards will be conferred: Taitokerau (Northland); Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland); Tainui (Waikato/Western Bay of Plenty including Coromandel); Waiariki (Eastern Bay of Plenty and Volcanic Plateau); Ikaroa (Manawatu, Wellington and Hawkes Bay); Tairawhiti (East Coast); Aotea (King Country and Taranaki); and Te Waipounamu (South Island).

MWDI founder and executive director Dame Georgina Kirby says this year there are even more chances for deserving Maori businesses to be recognised with the opening of the awards to men as well as women.

"Over the last decade this Awards programme has gained in stature and credibility," says Dame Georgina. "It's now appropriate that MWDI offers the same recognition to Maori businessmen as it does for Maori businesswomen because in fact no other awards programme honours the contribution Maori men make to New Zealand's economy."

Prize money and a beautiful pounamu statuette will go to each of the winners.

In the past the Awards have attracted entrants from primary, secondary and professional industries ranging from catering and construction to transportation, finer arts, consulting and information technology.

The breadth of entries, mainly from small businesses, gives a good indication of the important role that Maori businesses play in regional development and the growth of the total New Zealand economy.

Wendy Bennett of Food Queens Catering scooped the Overall Excellence in the Business Award in 2003. Food Queens, which emphasises indigenous herbs and flavours, started out catering predominantly for cast and crew on film and television productions, and now caters for top-end functions and events.

Other 2003 winners include Tania Simpson of Kowhai Consulting, Te Kuiti (Best Small Business), Caroline Smith of Mete Construction Ltd, South Auckland (Best Employment Creation) and Tangimoe Clay of Tangata Whenua Gallery, Opotiki (Best Self Employment Business).

Dame Georgina says businesses will be judged on their sales and profit results expressed in actual percentage terms for the 12 months prior to the Awards, management policies and processes, marketing growth and acceptance, quality of contribution to the Maori community and economy of Aotearoa, number of new part- or full-time positions created, and key reasons for business growth.

Entries Entries close Friday June 10 with the Awards ceremony held at Kimiora, Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia on Saturday June 25. To enter the Awards contact the MWDI office on (09) 307 7014, visit, or email

An independent judging panel is taken from representatives of each of the 2005 sponsors include the Bank of New Zealand, Te Puni Kokiri, Tamatekapua Law, Te Ohu Kai Moana, Department of Labour and the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Maori Business and Professional Association (MBPA) At this year's Awards ceremony MWDI will announce the establishment of the Maori Business and Professional Association, giving Maori business people a professional forum to network, seek and give support and market each other's businesses.

About Maori Women's Development Inc (MWDI) Formed in 1987, MWDI is a unique, indigenous financial institution that is managed and operated by Maori women for Maori people. Controlled by seven trustees, who are the former and current national presidents of Maori Women's Welfare League Inc, MWDI provides small business loans and mentoring to Maori women and their whanau.

MWDI has also run free mentoring clinics for Maori operating businesses in the arts, fashion and music industries at marae throughout Aotearoa covering governance, management, marketing and accounting business practices. MWDI has an excellent track record and has a database of almost 4,000 Maori businesses. MWDI lends qualifying applicants up to $20,000 at a 9 percent interest rate. Visit MWDI online at


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