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Farm 4 Life Given Supreme Honour At KUMA Māori Business Awards

Trailblazing Kiwi ‘edutainment’ business Farm 4 Life was announced the kaitiaki or guardian of the top 2021 Te Kupeka Umaka Māori ki Araiteuru (KUMA) Māori Business Award last night.

Farm 4 Life, an online learning platform that delivers on-demand education for the dairy industry and owned and founded by Māori farming identity Tangaroa Walker, became the seventh recipient of the Suzanne Spencer Tohu Maumahara Business Award at the KUMA Māori Business Awards. The judges based their decision on the impact Tangaroa was having on his local community using his experience and farming skills to support young people in particular, and the meteoric growth of his online community that puts Southland farming in the spotlight.

KUMA board member and judge Karen Roos (Te Puni Kōkiri) says Tangaroa’s personality and joy in being in front of the camera was an obvious entertainment factor, but particularly that “his life story, his dedication to being on the land, and his manaaki towards others” were significant factors in being honoured on Friday night. “Tangaroa is a strong role model in the community and especially for our rangatahi.”

About 110 people from around Otago, Southland and the Queenstown Lakes District attended the dinner and awards ceremony at the Elmwood Gardens in Invercargill. Also in attendance were kaumatua and KUMA patron Tā Tipene and Lady Sandra O’Regan, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu CEO Arihia Bennett, mana whenua, Members of Parliament, civic leaders and members of the business community.

“The Awards evening acknowledges continuous whānau, hapū and iwi contribution to the local economy,” KUMA board chair Claire Porima says. “KUMA was founded to strengthen the connections between Māori enterprises and entrepreneurs, so it is significant to celebrate this during Matariki,” she adds.

The KUMA Māori Business Awards honour resilience, collaboration and business success for Māori businesses in Otago, Southland and the Queenstown Lakes District.

Other category winners are:

Collaboration & Innovation (sponsored by Otago Southland Employers’ Association):
Check In Ltd (Tāhuna Queenstown):
Check In is Queenstown's local concierge service. Curating experiences, services and connections for visitors, hosts and locals alike. Check In interweaves the motivations of both visitor and community in an effort to create more meaningful experiences, forge genuine connections and encourage positive impact. Check In was launched mid-2020 by founding sisters Maria Rapata & Karmela Rapata.

Employment & Growth (sponsored by Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter):
Niche Design & Construction (Hāwea):
An established and experienced Wānaka-based building company, Niche Design & Construction is owned and operated by Kawhata and Amy Williams. Niche offers a personalised building service, working one on one to create a house that clients are proud to call home.

Resilience & Wellbeing (sponsored by Great South):
Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu (Waihōpai Invercargill):
Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu is a mana whenua-mandated kaupapa Māori Health and Social service in its 21st year of delivery. Employing 76 staff, with offices in Invercargill and Dunedin, the agency provides a range of community hub services, stop smoking, Māori public health, disability support, whānau ora, mental health and addiction counselling, youth accommodation and He Puna Waiora Wellness Centre - a low-cost general practice and on-site pharmacy.

Emerging Enterprise (includes Rangatahi) (sponsored by Poutama Trust):
Reigning Downs Hauora Centre (Waihōpai Invercargill):
Reigning Downs is an alternative educational facility where hauora, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are its main focus. All programs are individually created by a fully registered teacher to meet the needs of each individual participant or group. The essential skills for learning are embedded when working with hōiho (horses): confidence, leadership, building positive relationships and problem-solving.

Puna Pakihi Recognition of Achievement Award (sponsored by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu):
Karen Hattaway, Blue Kanu (Tahuna Queenstown):
This was a special recognition award, acknowledging Karen Hattaway’s significant contribution over the years to the business sector in Whakatipu, her leadership and her entrepreneurial qualities. Karen’s commitment to Māori businesswomen’s professional development and excellence was of particular note.

The People’s Choice Award (sponsored by the Otago Regional Business Partner Network):
Farm 4 Life and its creator, Tangaroa Walker, has a following in Aotearoa and internationally that out-paced his local counterparts in the online voting poll, proving, as one KUMA Board member said, the popularity of the person and his mahi.

The Suzanne Spencer Tohu Maumahara Business Award is named in memory of Suzanne Spencer, a highly regarded founding member of KUMA. The Tohu is an acknowledgement of Suzanne’s significant contribution to Māori businesses and to Māori in business in the region. Several members of Suzanne’s whānau attended the event.

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