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Tokoroa-born Entrepreneur Anna Mowbray To Inspire South Waikato Students For International Women’s Day

Tokoroa-born entrepreneur Anna Mowbray, who co-founded multi-billion-dollar toy manufacturer Zuru, returns to her birth town this Friday 8 March to inspire senior students from local high schools in honour of International Women's Day.

Mowbray will be joined by other successful Waikato women from various backgrounds including entrepreneurship, sports, and the creative arts, who will share their inspiring stories with over 150 young Year 12 and 13 women from South Waikato Schools at the Tokoroa Event Centre to inspire the next generation of women and future leaders in the district.

After a buffet breakfast, karakia and a formal welcome from South Waikato District Council (SWDC) Executive Manager Strategy and Transformation Debbie Lascelles, students will hear from accomplished Māori and Cook Island producer and director, Lanita Ririnui.

Over the last 20 years, Lanita has emerged as an award-winning writer, director, and producer. Her journey that began in Tauranga Moana, Ngāpuhi, and Ngāti Wai, is reflected in her authentic and innovative storytelling. Lanita is the Executive Director of Ngā Aho Whakaari Māori In Screen, an organisation that advocates for Māori representation in the global screen industry. As the opening speaker for the event, Lanita will share her experiences, inspire the indigenous women in the room, and set the tone for the day.

Next is Tokoroa-born Anna Mowbray, who went from a small-town farm girl to helping her two brothers create the multi-billion-dollar toy empire Zuru in China. Mowbray aims to make her latest endeavour ZEIL the "the most loved recruiting app globally".

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Concluding the lineup is Lisa Tamati, who made history as the first Kiwi woman to complete the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 217km non-stop through Death Valley, the hottest desert on earth. With 25 years of experience in the world's most challenging endurance events, Lisa shares her wisdom through motivational speaking, coaching, and her podcast "Pushing the Limits."

The event is co-funded by SWIFT, a community-owned economic development fund dedicated to the growth and development of business in South Waikato.

SWIFT CEO Amanda Hema expresses her excitement, “We appreciate that many talented women, ranging from sportswomen to television producers, businesspeople, and social change agents, are eager to share their experiences to inspire the next generation.

“As South Waikato continues to celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary women, it reinforces the community's commitment to creating an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can succeed and thrive.”

South Waikato International Women’s Day leaders

Lanita RirinuiMāori In Screen
Anna MowbrayZEIL
Lisa TamatiAthlete
Christine HallCentral Kids
Erin GriffithsWaikato Screen
Rachel KeralusK'aute Pasifika Trust
Maria Te KanawaRaukawa
Makea PiahanaPou Systems
Kiani TuhuaSWIFT
Polly RikonaITW
Akarere HenrySWPICS
Kate WightmanSoda Inc
Grace FornoBarker and Associates
Adele HadfieldVeros Property Services
Bailey Van Den BroekFlight Instructor in Rotorua & Tokoroa
Caroline BatleyANZ
Denise LawTokoroa Law
Liora Pine (Saad)The Little Acre
Kirsty KraakmanRuminant Bio Tech

About South Waikato

The South Waikato District lies at the heart of New Zealand’s North Island with State Highway 1 running through three of our main towns - Tokoroa, Putāruru and Tīrau. The other main town is Arapuni village, home to Arapuni hydro power station. The district’s close proximity to Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland, all less than a two-hour drive away, makes it an attractive place to live and do business.

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