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Celebrate the first North Asia CAPE Maori Business Scholars

Celebrate the first North Asia CAPE Maori Business Scholars

20 February 2018

North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholars offer valuable insights from
immersion experience in Taipei

Six university graduates from around New Zealand have been awarded the first North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholarships. The scholarships took the recipients to Taipei City where they recently spent three weeks at the respected National Taiwan University (NTU). The scholars devoted their time to learning Mandarin, establishing business networks, and exploring the many cultural, historical, and linguistic linkages between Māori and the indigenous people of the island of Taiwan.

The North Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPE) is committed to building strong and enduring trade and cultural relationships between New Zealand and China, Japan, and Korea. The North Asia CAPE is led by the University of Auckland in partnership with the University of Otago, University of Waikato, and Victoria University of Wellington.

The scholars studied Mandarin daily in an immersive environment. The participants all admit the language acquisition aspect of the programme was challenging – but also deeply rewarding. They say they have returned to Aotearoa New Zealand energised by the indigenous knowledge-sharing that informed their experience.

Auckland-based Nathaniel Howe (Ngāti Wai, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tahu), says he is now acutely aware of how two seemingly disparate cultures are “inextricably linked”.

“We share a unique whakapapa connection that also include language and cultural ties. While overseas, we saw the modern day infrastructure of the island of Taiwan - this was valuable in creating an aspirational mindset in Aotearoa New Zealand to help ensure the betterment of our Māori people.”

Fiona Johnson-Bell (Tainui), who lives in Wellington, says she cherishes the opportunity to study at an internationally recognised institution, and to meet and learn from other indigenous scholars who are also driven to improve outcomes for their people and communities.

“In addition to learning more about the connection between our cultures, I also discovered how other populations emulate the ways in which Māori have obtained knowledge through our own development,” says Fiona.

“In selecting our North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholars, we were confident the recipients would immerse themselves in the programme’s wide range of academic, professional, and cultural opportunities - and we were not disappointed,” says Professor Jenny Dixon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) at the University of Auckland. “We look forward to the cultural and business outcomes that will no doubt emerge from the North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholarships.”

The exchange was facilitated by The Agreement Between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation(ANZTEC), which contains Chapter 19 on indigenous cooperation, the only such chapter of any active free trade agreement in the world. Chapter 19 coordinator, Charles J. Rowe, from Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development), said the North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholarships exemplify the kind of cooperation that could be expanded under Chapter 19.

“It has been excellent working with the Auckland CAPE and our regional Te Puni Kōkiri office to secure quality participants who can benefit from this type of career development, and to strengthen Māori ties to the Chinese-speaking world. The indigenous-to-indigenous dimension is critical. After all, cultural connection is the arrowhead of business,” says Charles.

The 2018 North Asia CAPE Māori Business Scholars are:

Nathaniel Howe (Ngāti Wai, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tahu); lives in Te Atatu South, Auckland; available for interview in Te Reo and English language

Fiona Johnson-Bell (Tainui); lives in Wellington; available for interview in Te Reo and English language (not attending the celebration)

Sada Charlie (Waikato and Cook Islander); lives in Wellington; available for interview in English language

Ihipera Rimene-Sproat (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Ngāi Tahu); lives in Papakura, Auckland; available for interview in English language

Tyson Haeora Grootjans (Tūhoe); lives in Birkdale, Auckland; available for interview in Te Reo and English language (not attending the celebration)

Te Karamihi o te aroha Harawira (Kara) (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tai, Ngāi-te-rangi); lives in Whakatane; available for interview in Te Reo and English language

Learn more about the North Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence:


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