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Callaghan Innovation appoints top business leader

Callaghan Innovation appoints top business leader to accelerate Māori innovation


Callaghan Innovation, the government’s new high-tech HQ for kiwi business, has appointed Hemi Rolleston as its General Manager, Māori Economy.

As GM, Māori Economy, Hemi, a highly respected business leader and former CEO, will lead Callaghan Innovation’s efforts to support and address the needs of Māori business to grow and be competitive in the global market.

Hemi was welcomed to Callaghan Innovation’s Gracefield Innovation Precinct, in Lower Hutt, Wellington, earlier this week, with a pōwhiri attended by representatives of Government, iwi, Māori business, the Federation of Māori Authorities and whānau, as well as Callaghan Innovation leadership and staff.

In his new role, Hemi will lead Callaghan Innovation’s Māori development activities including developing a Māori investment/innovation strategy and a framework for engaging Māori with programmes and services such as training and development for Māori business leaders.

He will also work closely with Māori business strategy leaders in NZTE, Te Puni Kōkiri and MBIE to promote a “one plan” approach to unlocking the value of the Māori economy for the benefit of New Zealand.

“In 2011 I was MC at a Federation of Māori Authorities conference at which Sir Paul Callaghan was guest speaker. Sir Paul was a real inspiration, and so I’m honoured to now be able to take what I’ve learned leading a sizeable Māori exporting business and use it to help raise the level of innovation capability among Māori businesses,” says Hemi.

Callaghan Innovation Chief Executive Mary Quin says: “We are fortunate to have someone of Hemi’s calibre join us on our mission to accelerate commercialisation of innovation by firms in New Zealand. The Māori economy is a vital part of that equation and we look forward to Hemi leading the way in address the needs of Māori business to grow and compete on the international stage”.


About Hemi Rolleston

Hemi comes to Callaghan Innovation from Te Awanui Huka Pak Limited where he has been the Chief Executive since 2006. Te Awanui Huka Pak is a 100 per cent Māori-owned kiwifruit business with $30m in assets and over $300m in shareholder value. It won the TVNZ Māori Business of the Year Award in 2012. In the same year, Hemi was the recipient of the Bay of Plenty Export Achiever Award.

Before this Hemi held a range of senior roles with Waikato University as Māori Liaison Officer (2005) and Tauranga District Council (1995 – 2002) as a Māori Land Officer and the Revenue Manager. Hemi also has sound governance experience in a range of Māori and economic development organisations including Te Awanui Huka Pak Co-operative, Priority One, Community Growth Limited, Bay of Connections and Grow Rotorua. Hemi will be Wellington-based and has iwi affiliations to Te Arawa, Ngati Ranginui, and Ngai te Rangi.

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