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Strength and Diversity of Maori Businesses

25 June 2005 –

Maori Business Awards Show Strength and Diversity of Maori Businesses

What do a forestry company, an HR and recruitment company, a building supplies business, a primary healthcare provider, a training academy and a Macadamia orchard have in common? They’re all amongst the top award winners at the inaugural Maori Business Awards, which were presented this evening at Kimiora, Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia.

The premier Award, for Overall Excellence in Business, was won by central North Island forestry company, Kokakotaea Forestry Corporation. Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikahu, presented the Award to CEO Glen Tahu. Although Kokakoaea - the name means emerging Kokako - was only founded in 2002, it is already well on track to achieving its ambition of becoming the leading Maori forestry company by 2007.

Through five subsidiary companies Kokakotaea provides a total forestry solution to clients including marketing, harvesting, distribution, forest management and procurement services.

The Award for Best Maori Businesswoman, presented by Prime Minister Helen Clark, went to Rani Rangimoekau of DKW Personnel Limited, a Christchurch-based HR and recruitment business that places up to 100 people per week in the industrial and commercial sector.

The Award for Best Maori Businessman, presented by Te Ariki Tumu Teheuheu, went to Riki Rolleston of Kaitaia, whose JV company, Rolleston Building Supplies, trades as PlaceMakers Kaitaia.

Audrey Robin, CEO of Te Kupenga Hauora-Ahuriri, won the award for Best Maori Professional Business. With a staff of 20 and 10 volunteers Te Kupenga provides health and social services, including well child services, dental health, school-based health services, suicide prevention and outreach immunisation services throughout the Hawkes Bay region.

The Award for Best Small Maori Business was won by Aucklander Frank Solomon of Solomon Education Training Academy.
The Award for Best Employment Creation went to Vanessa Hayes of Torere Macadamias. The company now employs 28 people in Torere Bay, near Opotiki, up from nine the previous year.

The awards, set up by the Maori Women’s Development Incorporation (MWDI) in 1995 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Maori women in business, were formerly known as the Maori Women’s Business Awards. The decision to open the awards to men for the first time this year paid off, with over two hundred businesses submitting entries.

“We are delighted with the high standard of entries and tremendously proud of all the winners,” says MWDI founder and executive director Dame Georgina Kirby. “The awards recognise the significant contribution Maori businesses make to New Zealand’s economy.”

The full list of winners is:
Te Kaipakihi Tino Taumata Tohu (Overall Excellence in Business)
Glen Katu, Kokakotaea Forestry Corporation Limited
Te Mana Wahine Tohu (Best Maori Women in Business)
Rani Ragimoekau, DKW Personnel Limited
Te Mana Tane Tohu (Best Maori Men in Business)
Riki Rolleston, Rolleston Building Supplies Limited - PlaceMakers Kaitaia
Te Kaipakihi Ahorangi Tohu (Best Maori Professional Business)
Audrey Robin, Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri
Nga Whaea o te Motu Tohu (Best Small Business)
Frank Solomon, Solomon Education Training Academy
Te Ahu Mahi Tohu (Best Business Employment Creation)
Vanessa Hayes, Torere Macadamias Limited

In addition eight Nga Perehitini Tohu (Best Regional Business) awards were announced:
Taitokerau (Northland)
Riki Rolleston, Rolleston Building Supplies Limited - PlaceMakers Kaitaia
Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland)
Jim and Janene Laughton, Shredding Services Limited
Tainui (Waikato/Western Bay of Plenty including Coromandel)
Glen Katu, Kokakotaea Forestry Corporation Limited
Waiariki (Eastern Bay of Plenty and Volcanic Plateau)
Donna Mariana Grant, Manaakitanga Aotearoa Trust
Ikaroa (Manawatu, Wellington and Hawkes Bay)
Audrey Robin, Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri
Tairawhiti (East Coast)
Vanessa Hayes, Torere Macadamias Limited
Aotea (King Country and Taranaki)
Keita Rasell, Virtue Jewellery Limited
Te Waipounamu (South Island)
Rani Rangimoekau, DKW Personnel Limited

Winners each get up to $5,000 in prize money, an interest free loan of up to $20,000 and a beautiful pounamu statuette.

Businesses were 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.

The independent judging panel was made up of representatives from 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 announced 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, Maori men and their whanau to enter into business.

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 over 4,000 Maori businesses who in turn employ over 11,000 people. MWDI lends qualifying applicants up to $20,000 at a 9 percent interest rate. Visit MWDI online at


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