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Te Rerenga Manu: “Everyone has the tools to success”

Te Rerenga Manu: “Everyone has the tools to success”

Successful entrepreneur and businessman Ulu Aiono has encouraged the audience at the Te Rerenga Manu fono to use their own personal tools to unleash their entrepreneurial pacific spirit.

The first ever Te Rerenga Manu fono (conference) is taking place today 31 August and tomorrow 1 September at the Papatoetoe Seventh Day Adventist Church (PAPSDA) Campus in Manukau.

It is being delivered by the Emerging Pasifika Leaders Steering Group, a group funded by The Southern Initiative of Auckland Council.

Aiono the founder of Cogita, a multi-million dollar technology company that specialised in resource planning software, told the audience of more than a 100 people about his tools to success which comprised of a slider and a collection of books.

“Everyone has their own tools of success to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit. The slider and books were mine,” said Aiono.

“The slider was a precursor of the calculator to make digital calculations. One day I walked past a store and saw the slider. I asked to borrow it and spent two weeks learning how to use it. That was when I knew that I was great at working with software,” he says.

“The books about philosophy, business planning and ‘cause and effect’ were also very useful for me. It was using these tools that have helped me on my way to found and establish my company that started in a bedroom in Dunedin before it was later sold.

“It’s also important that we are not held back by what people say. As a brown, Samoan man I was often questioned by people as to whether I could do the job. But my capability and resourcefulness was demonstrated in that most of my competitors were not around anymore and I was still here running a successful business,” says Aiono who today serves on several governance boards.

Aiono was part of an impressive three person panel discussion alongside Raveen Jaduram, CEO of Watercare and Ranjna Patel, Director of East Tamaki Healthcare and Nirvana Healthcare Group, who discussed the challenges, setbacks and triumphs of their respective careers.

Patel commented on her ability to ‘learn on the go’ when together with her doctor husband they started a medical practice in Otara in 1977.

“I’m not a trained accountant but I had to teach myself to do the books for our practice. I also acted as a receptionist and carried out other tasks and responsibilities to ensure that we could serve our community,” she says.

“We changed the hours of our practice (8am-6pm) to suit the community which was very unusual because all (medical practices) operated from 9am-12pm and 3pm-5pm. The people of Otara appreciated it and our practice grew very quickly.”

“That ability to learn skills and adapt has served me well as a business woman and today in my role to combat domestic violence,” says Patel.


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