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Tangaroa Walker To Be Guest Speaker At KUMA Māori Business Awards

Social media star, community leader and Māori farming trailblazer Tangaroa Walker has been announced as guest speaker at an awards event for Southern Māori businesses next month.
Walker, who has recently launched his book Farm for Life: Mahi, Mana and Life on the Land, will share his story at the Te Kupeka Umaka Māori ki Araiteuru (KUMA) Māori Business Awards.

The glitzy event, which celebrates resilience, collaboration and business success for Māori businesses in Otago, Southland and the Queenstown Lakes, takes place in Invercargill on July 2.

Entries are still open for eligible businesses to enter the awards, with the cut-off date being 5pm, Monday June 21.

Alongside Walker, kaumātua and KUMA founder Tā Tipene O’Regan will also be present at the event with Lady Sandra, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu CEO Arihia Bennett, as special guests.

“KUMA is incredibly honoured to have our kaumātua present,” KUMA co-chair Claire Porima says. 

“Tā Tipene and other notable KUMA founders understood the depth of Māori entrepreneurial talent in this region, and knew that this would be the key to reasserting Māori economic, cultural and social wellbeing. So, they set about creating connections and unlocking access to resources so that Māori business could thrive. Now, we have young local business stars like Tangaroa Walker joining us to tell his story in the presence of Tā Tipene who has shared his wisdom and guidance with so many of the KUMA members over the years. It is going to be an inspirational event.” 

Businesses that identify as Māori are eligible to enter the biennial awards. The categories for this year’s event are: Collaboration & Innovation, Employment & Growth, Resilience & Wellbeing and Emerging Enterprise (includes Rangatahi). There is also a People’s Choice Award, where the public can vote on finalists once they are announced on June 28. The supreme winner will be awarded the Suzanne Spencer Tohu Maumahara Business Award.

Suzanne was highly regarded as one of the founding members of KUMA. This Award is an acknowledgement of her significant contribution to Māori businesses and to Māori in business in the region.

An independent judging panel will select finalists. Judges are: Experienced management consultant , Jeffrey Broughton; Aimee Kaio, Rūnanga Engagement Manager in the Regional Investment Fund team of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu; and Karen Roos, Māori Enterprise Advisor, Te Puni Kōkiri.

The theme for this year’s awards is Manawaroa (resilience) and Kotahitanga (collaboration/oneness). The Awards dinner will take place at Elmwood Gardens in Invercargill, on July 2. Tickets are $100+GST for non-KUMA members, $60+GST for members and $500+GST for a table of 10.

Late entries close at 5pm on Monday, June 21. Entry forms can be downloaded here and are to be submitted to

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