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‘Create Your Own Future – If We Can, So Can You


‘Create Your Own Future – If We Can, So Can You!’

Inspirational role models share their motivational success stories in online video interviews aimed at encouraging Maori to pursue higher levels of education, training, employment, enterprise and innovation.

An interactive website – www.MaoriFutureMakers.com – was launched by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita R Sharples, at Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae in Mangere, Auckland, today (11.00 am, Thursday 14 February 2013).

A total of 30 high-achievers studying, employed or self-employed in primary, knowledge intensive and growth industries are captured on film for the new resource. From entrepreneurs and engineers to neurobiologists and nanoscientists, the Maori Future Makers talk candidly to the camera about their study pathways, educational achievements, skills, work experiences and professional opportunities. They include:

• Mechatronics engineering student, young dad Anaru O’Connor (Ngati Porou), from Papakura, who is also pursuing a conjoint degree in Chinese and Maori.
• Computer games and applications developer Maru Nihoniho (Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tahu), owner of Metia Interactive.
• Award-winning technology entrepreneur Rod Drury (Ngai Tahu), chief executive of Xero which now has nearly 100,000 customers in 100 different countries.
• Environmental planner Lisa Kanawa (Ngapuhi, Ngati Raukawa) who is in training for an all-female South Pole expedition in November.
• Design professional and artist David Hakaraia (Ngapuhi, Ngati Paoa) whose Maori-inspired work will be exhibited at a furniture fair in New York in May.
• Successful social entrepreneur and mentor Travis O’Keefe (Ngati Porou) who utilises his business skills to help solve problems in society.

Says O’Keefe: “If I was a young person, my advice would be to say yes to everything! “Go out and try everything – learn the lesson. If you enjoy it, repeat it and keep doing it. Find your passion and don’t believe people when they say you can’t do it.”

Supported by Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Future Makers website is a practical, simple and engaging tool to support students and whanau to make more informed decisions about education, training and careers. The personal experiences of each role model is linked to study options and survival tips, course information, scholarship and iwi funding opportunities, and helpful links such as on-campus whanau groups that can support students.

Maori Future Makers with specialist skills and capabilities in different industries and occupations are also showcased to Maori and mainstream employers and businesses as well as a worldwide global audience. The shoot took the production team from Auckland to Christchurch including Turangi, Taupo, Hastings, Tauranga, Wairoa, Gisborne, Ruatoria and Wellington.

Project leader Moana Maniapoto from Muriwai-based Black Pearl Limited says the Maori students and whanau who informed the initial research project highlighted the difficulties in having to search the internet to source information from multiple websites. Moana says the new website pools all the “good” information into one space created specifically for Maori while social media such as Facebook and Twitter complement the online content.

“These Maori Future Makers are a clever bunch of people. They come from all walks of life – small towns, big whanau, city schools and families that have very little money. Some were not outstanding students at school, others were unsure if they could cope with the pressures of study or living away from home.

“Yet all of them are passionate about what they do and they've learnt a few things along the way too. Like what subjects you should take at school, what type of study programme works for them, how to survive years of study and how to stay motivated, where to apply for scholarships and grants, what fun you can have in your spare time – and how you are never too old to learn.

“Best of all, they know what opportunities exist for Maori who arm themselves with certain qualifications or skills. This resource is about realising Maori potential by growing Maori assets – and our biggest asset is our people.”

To view the videos, connect and converse with the Maori Future Makers or for more information:

• visit the website, www.MaoriFutureMakers.com

DR ADELE WHYTE (Ngati Kahungunu, Whakatohea) – Hastings
Adele Whyte – with the support of her whanau – was awarded the first of two prestigious scholarships to complete her Masters and then her PhD research in 2000. Her Master’s research investigated the origins of Maori and Pacific peoples using DNA while her PhD research investigated the use of mussels as indicators of marine pollution. After graduating in 2006, Adele was employed by Victoria University as a lecturer and researcher teaching biochemistry, biotechnology and marine conservation. During this time, she was also acting as a technical advisor to Kahungunu ki Uta, Kahungunu ki Tai steering group. Now working for her iwi in the Hawke’s Bay, Adele is also a mentor for Te Ropu Awhina – whanau for Maori and Pacific students studying science at Victoria.

AMANDA TAYLOR (Ngati Porou, Tainui, Ngai Tahu) – Papakura, Auckland
“I just have a couple of papers to do this year and then I will have a Diploma in Civil Engineering and the Applied Diploma of Civil Engineering. I'm proud of the InfraTrain Civil Engineering Scholarship for Maori that I was awarded in 2010. The most nerve-racking thing I've ever done was a presentation at the Downer Cadet Graduate Conference. I also managed a roading project in the Pacific Islands which was awesome. And I'm a mother with a young daughter who attends Te Timatatanga Kohanga Reo in Manurewa. I'm currently employed by Downer as a Contract Engineer/QMR Operations – I am more focussed on the quality of our work and making sure that our company processes are being followed.”

ANARU O’CONNOR (Ngati Porou) – Papakura, Auckland
“I'm a student in mechatronic engineering at Auckland University. I'm also enrolled in a conjoint degree in Chinese and Maori. I am currently in my fourth year with two years to go before I graduate. Awards and achievements? While I was at Rotorua Boy’s High School, I got the Ngati Whakaue Top Maori Scholar and a Diploma of Dairy Technology with Distinction from Massey University. Also, whilst working a 12-hour shift, I have never failed a paper. Balancing double degrees with two young children while also having a social and sporting life – that's a pretty big achievement too. When I finish university, I'd like to gain more skills and experience in Fonterra … then I want to work towards owning my own business.”

ANI KAINAMU (Ngapuhi) – Nelson
“I'm currently working at the Ministry for Primary Industries in Aquaculture Strategy in Nelson. MPI is the merging of the Ministry of Fisheries, MAF and the New Zealand Food and Safety Authority. I'm pretty excited – this opportunity has been a long time coming! In 2011, I had some fisheries experience with Aotearoa Fisheries Limited in Manukau, at an oyster factory, Sydney (Sealords, fish market), and then an internship with Nga Pae o te Maramatanga looking at Okahu Bay … The thing I love most about studying marine science is meeting others that are passionate about looking after our marine environment, and talking with locals, surfers, divers about our sea. I'd like to get experience in the local fisheries sector and use this to better manage local resources.”

BEVAN HUNTER (Ngati Porou ki Hauraki)
“My advice to those wanting to study applied science would be to take biology, chemistry and calculus at high school. I only took biology at school and so I had to do remedial studies in order to obtain my scholarship. The great thing about studying is having access to the best aquamarine library in the Southern Hemisphere. That kind of academic literature and those journals cost a fortune when you are finally in the field … My degree helped my family to set up our own paua and crayfish farm … which was a great learning experience for us all. At the moment, I'm an Executive working for Te Runanga o Ngati Porou ki Hauraki where my work involves being a part of the research, mapping, executive and treaty settlement negotiations team.”

BRENT GEAR (Ngati Ngararanui, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Tapu) – Tauranga
“I was an apprentice, and started off by sweeping the floors. After that, I earned a welders and basic engineering ticket. I was mentored all the way through until the day I took over the company … Now I’m the managing director of my own engineering business, Gear Welding Services. We specialise in stainless, aluminium, mild and high tensile steels. I was recently awarded a contract to supply Gear Steel buildings to Papua New Guinea – this is a large contract which means I've been able to offer nine cadetships to rangatahi who want to work in my field. I love my work, I really do – from the drawing board to the completed product. The award I’m most proud of receiving is the contract as the main engineer in the construction of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge.”

DAVID HAKARAIA (Ngapuhi, Ngati Paoa) – Wellington
David Hakaraia explores his interpretations of Maori narratives and motif using traditional methods of woodwork and metalwork in conjunction with the latest technologies such as CnC technology, laser cutters and 3D printers. David’s aim is to develop new ways to express history by marrying contemporary design technologies with traditional Maori storytelling. He will exhibit his work at a New York furniture fair in May while a grant from Te Waka Toi at Creative New Zealand will allow him to create a body of work for exhibition at the end of this year. David is a member of Te Ropu Awhina whose kaupapa is to produce Maori and Pacific science, engineering, architecture and design professionals.

DAVID HERMAN (Ngati Ruanui) – Wellington
“I’m studying a degree in chemistry, majoring in nanotechnology … The implications for my research in this area in nanotechnology for Maori? I’m specifically focusing on ways to clean up our awa (rivers), break down pollution in waterways. We’re going to have to look at ways of renewing our waste water and cleaning up rivers that are contaminated with this heavy metal or pollution … I think being a well-rounded scientist will get you places. So studying a PhD will open up the opportunity of working in the university as a lecturer, or a teacher and also for research jobs. I’m young, I’m Maori and I’m still contributing to this booming world of nanotechnology – science that’s tiny, tiny as but it’s such a big field so it’s cool, it’s just amazing.”

DEREK KAWITI (Ngapuhi, Ngati Hine, Tuhoe, Ngati Porou) – Auckland
A graduate of the Auckland School of Architecture, Derek Kawiti has a Master of Architecture from the Architectural Association in London. Derek has more than 12 years of experience working in the field of architecture and has practiced in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. He has been involved in a range of projects from mixed-use housing schemes to large-scale commercial and civic projects. Derek is currently a lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture with a focus in teaching design technology. He is also an academic advisor in the Technology Unit and Media Centre which specialises in computational design processes and machine fabrication.

GERARD TE HEUHEU (Ngati Tuwharetoa) – Turangi
“I’m a commercial pilot and we have an aviation company called Tongariro Aviation. Primarily, we’re a hunting business – we’ve got a block of land in the Kaimanawa Ranges, 45,000 hectares. The blocks are split up into 22 separate blocks and in each of the 22 blocks we’ve got accommodation and an airstrip. We fly hunters into those strips so a lot of our flying is remote flying into the hills – all in all, it’s just really good fun. I love it! … I did pretty poorly at school, I wasn’t that academic. If you’ve got some interest in mathematics and science it’ll make things easier but that’s not to say if you aren’t good at maths and science that you can’t do it. I’m a perfect example of that. If you put your mind to anything you want to do, you can always achieve it.”

GREG SUMMERTON (Kai Tahu) – Christchurch
“My company is the only company that has a retail situation in the United States in a direct capacity, which is quite a coup. And the way I did that was I developed my story about what I was doing and my brand … I was just telling my family story, my life story, about Okains Bay where my family originated from, on Banks Peninsula. I got an interview with the head seafood buyer of Coscos in the United States … he said he was really impressed with it, he’d read my profile and was ready to order and that’s how the business started. So now we’re the only New Zealand company supplying Coscos direct in the United States. We’re also supplying 28 stores in London and three stores in Australia.”

HEMI ROLLESTON (Ngati Whakaue, Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranginui) – Mount Maunganui
Hemi Rolleston is the Chief Executive Officer of Te Awanui Hukapak Limited – a 100 per cent Maori-owned company based in Mount Maunganui. Hemi's career highlights include the brokering of a business transaction conservatively valued at $24 million in 2009. As a result of this, Te Awanui Hukapak is now the largest shareholder in Seeka Industries, a listed company and the largest kiwifruit company in New Zealand. Hemi holds a business management degree and postgraduate qualifications in Maori and completed the Kelloggs Rural Leaders Programme at Lincoln University in 2010. A member of the NZ Institute of Directors since 2007, he has received the Bay of Plenty Export Achievement Award and the Bay of Plenty Institute of Directors Aspiring Directors Award.

JORDAN KOZIOL-REPIA (Ngati Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Takitimu) – Auckland
“I’m an application developer and production editor that works on applications for Apple Ipad, Iphone and Mac. Apps are applications that people can use in everyday life – you can just download one from the apps store and it makes things real easy. Most of the people I show apps to are like, ‘how did you do that?’ I’m like, ‘magic code!’ … One of the projects I really enjoyed was a fairy tale book that I did for the Ipad that involved composing a lot of music and working with the animations to try and bring it to life. It really came out really well – it’s good to see positive reactions from kids. I think the exciting thing is using new technologies that only a handful of people around the world use. I’m trying to look for new projects that will hopefully change the future.”

KATIE BROWN (Ngati Raukawa ki Waikato) – Wellington
Born and raised in Timaru, Katie Brown studied for a year in Montreal and worked for several years at the Ministry of Social Development before completing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and Management at Victoria in Wellington. Katie worked at Trade Me, first in customer service. She developed the Trade Me Stores function before becoming an account manager of some of New Zealand's largest recruiters in Trade Me Jobs. She built up the Trade Me Jobs social media strategy and consulted in multiple internal projects as well as administering and managing the Trade Me CRM, Salesforce. Katie now works for web design company, Pikselin.

KAUAHI NGAPORA (Waikato, Tainui, Ngati Mahanga, Ngati Haua, Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kuri) – Kaikoura
“My first flash job at Whale Watch was called a caregiver which had me emptying spew buckets. I had about 10 or 12 buckets lined up and if you felt sick, I’d hand you a seasickness bucket. You’d spew in it, I’d clean it and give it back to you … I’ve been at Whale Watch for 20 years, so started off at the bottom and now sitting up at the top which has given me a good perspective on how the whole business operates as I’ve been through all the stages in there. Most of my learning has been through good mentors – learning from your mistakes and life experiences really … Because it’s a Maori business, it’s intergenerational so my key goal is – when the reins get passed on – to ensure that the business is in a strong position for the next generation that comes through and looks after it.”

KIMBERLY MAXWELL (Whakatohea, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tai) – Wellington
“I’m an aquaculture researcher so during the day we’re growing sea animals, growing them to make money and create jobs for people and also as a food resource. I love the miracle of life so being able to see animals come up from being eggs, growing all the way to adults – then, at the end of the day, popping some of them in a pan and having a kai! I’ve been working on hapuku, paua and, at the moment, sea cucumbers. So we’ve collected adults, females and males from the wild, got them to release their eggs, then they’re little free-swimming larvae and we feed these and keep them clean … we are now growing them to see how long it will take before we can sell them commercially. We’re hoping it will take about two years.”

KINGI SNELGAR (Ngapuhi, Ngati Whakaue, Whakatohea, Ngai Tahu) – Auckland
“I finished my degree in 2011 and I’m now in my third year with a law firm called Meredith Connell where I am practising in criminal prosecution. It is a great place for court room experience and to learn from the top criminal lawyers in Aotearoa. I am focussed on gaining as much experience in criminal law before hopefully completing a Master’s degree in the United Kingdom, Canada or the United States. My big goal is to return home to my people and use my skills to help with our treaty settlement … The most nerve-racking thing, but a big achievement, was to present a statement on behalf of an international rangatahi network at a United Nations conference in Geneva.”

LISA KANAWA (Ngapuhi, Ngati Raukawa) – Turangi
“I’m self-employed, I run a consultancy specialising in environmental planning and policy … what I love about what I do is empowering hapu, marae and iwi to get a feeling for the environment and feel like they can express themselves in their own whenua, in their own awa … On November 1, I’ll be doing an 80-day ski to the South Pole with a crew of eight women from different continents. How it links to my job and my career is the focus for the expedition is water and that individuals all over the world have access to water. So the physical part of the challenge is quite hard but the challenging part for me is how do I communicate this access water message back to New Zealand and make it more real for everybody. How we use water and are we using it appropriately.”

LIZ TE AMO (Waitaha, Tuhourangi, Tapuika, Ngati Moko) – Auckland
“I am the Pouarahi of Maori business for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise – it’s a very exciting job. I get to grow Maori jobs internationally. We have 36 international offices and we are part of what we call NZ Inc. For me, to be able to truly represent New Zealand, you have to have a strong cultural aspect to that no matter where you come from. So I’m lucky that I’m Maori because that is unique to New Zealand and it’s a part of our identity and who we are. For Maori, if I think about the industries of the future, there is no question we need more people in science, engineering, business, and particularly international business and that’s where I’d really encourage people to go, particularly Maori … Right now is the time Maori are really, really poised to do great things.”

MANIA CAMPBELL-SEYMOUR (Whakatohea, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Ngai Tai, Tuhoe) – Auckland
“I'm in my fifth year studying medicine at the University of Auckland and doing placements at Auckland, Waikato and Waitakere Hospitals. I will end up with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery … You need to be hard-working, determined to succeed and have good whanau support. This is a difficult degree but it's very rewarding. Don't shy away from the challenge. If I can do it, so can you! I didn't need a flash private school education to get me to this point. – just a bit of encouragement and confidence is all it took. The thing I love most is working alongside other Maori and Pacific students at university … I received the Chancellor’s Award for Top Maori and Pacific Scholar. My other big achievement was … to go through the interview process to gain entry into med school. ”

MARU NIHONIHO (Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tahu) – Auckland
Maru Nihoniho is managing director of Auckland-based computer game and intellectual property development company, Metia Interactive. Working with the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Maru’s team developed an innovative ‘e-therapy game’ which is currently undergoing clinical trials. ‘SPARX’ uses an interactive 3D fantasy game to teach young people the skills to cope with depression and manage their mood. Metia Interactive was also nominated for a United Nations World Summit Award for their PlayStation Portable game, ‘Cube’. “Come and work in the games industry because it’s creative and exciting, it’s changing. The technology changes, it offers new challenges all the time. What we do evolves constantly and because of that it makes it fun.”

MAUI HUDSON (Whakatohea, Nga Ruahine, Te Mahurehure) – Hamilton
Maui Hudson has qualifications in ethics and Maori health. In his role as a research developer, Maui he works with iwi to develop proposals, and provides cultural and ethical advice to researchers. He is a member of the Health Research Council’s Ethics Committee and co-authored Te Ara Tika: Guidelines on Maori Research Ethics – a framework for researchers and ethics committee members. Maui’s own research is focussed on ethics, traditional healing and the interface between matauranga Maori and science. “The thing I love most about my job is the variety and the challenge. Science and health are awesome areas to gain qualifications in because there are lots of opportunities for work both here in Aotearoa and overseas.”

MELANIE CHEUNG (Ngati Rangitihi, Te Arawa)
“I’m from Matata and I grew up in Edgecumbe. I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Master of Science in Biochemistry and a Doctorate (PhD) in Pharmacology at the University of Auckland. I'm a neurobiologist so I study the brain. I work at the university as a neurobiologist studying neurodegenerative diseases in Maori and indigenous communities. I lecture and do research on biology, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroscience, matauranga Maori science, indigenous knowledge, ethics and science education. The two research centres that I work at are Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato and the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland.”

MOHI AUPOURI (Ngati Porou, Ngati Tuwharetoa) – Raparua
“I’m a farm manager – I run the farm for our family along with my daughter. It’s roughly about 2,000 hectares and we run beef and sheep … I love the lifestyle, out in the fresh air and all that sort of stuff. I love my dogs, my horses and the sheep and the cattle, I love working with animals, especially breeding … As of lately, I’ve been able to get a business diploma on running a business. It means I will be able to make my business run more efficiently, make this business more profitable and up the production. Now I realise there’s other factors in running a business – a whole lot about planning and being ahead of yourself and thinking ahead. If I leave this job, I can go away and use my tohu to get another job, another business, totally away from farming.”

ROD DRURY (Ngai Tahu) – Wellington
One of New Zealand's leading technology entrepreneurs, Rod Drury is the founder of small business accounting software provider Xero which listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2007. Rod completed his bachelor’s degree at Victoria in 1987. He is a member of the New Zealand Hi-Tech Hall of Fame, NZ Hi-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and 2007, World Class New Zealander for ICT in 2008 and an Honorary Fellow of the NZ Computer Society. Rod is a Director of the New Zealand Stock Exchange, a member of Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Commerce Advisory Board and was awarded New Zealand Herald Business Leader of the Year in 2012.

DR SCOTT WAGHORN (Ngapuhi) – Auckland
Scott Waghorn graduated from Otago as a dentist in 2004 and purchased Dentalcare West – the second largest dental practice in West Auckland – in early 2008. Scott’s thorough and incisive understanding of the latest techniques and technology governing the practise of dentistry is often called upon, especially on complex subjects such as advanced restorative and orthodontic problems. He is a published author whose advice is sought on dental business and best practice matters often involving the New Zealand dental service. He has given a number of presentations across the country on various dental subjects relevant to dentists including how to become a successful young dentist and modern orthodontic dentistry.

SCOTTY MORRISON (Ngati Whakaue) – Auckland
“My formal qualifications are a Diploma in Teaching, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Arts. At the moment, I’m enrolled in a PhD programme at Massey University … If you’re able to speak Maori, if you’ve got Maori language as a skill in your CV, then you’ve got the job. In the education sector … Maori language broadcasting, government departments – it’s a highly valued skill because they have a lot to do with Maori people and they engage a lot with Maori tribes. So there are plenty of employment opportunities out there now for people who’ve got te reo Maori as a skill and it’s mainly because we’ve got a shortage of Maori language speakers. But in saying that, te reo Maori that they possess has to be of a good quality.”

SHANNON JAMES (Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Tipa) – Hamilton
“I'm studying earth sciences because I need to further my knowledge to become a real volcanologist. It's all a part of 'the plan'. Currently I'm working at Mighty River Power in the geothermal geoscience group – one more semester to complete my degree, I graduate in October. Future prospects include postgraduate study in geothermal and energy-related sciences. I had a number of scholarships … the first one was the Tuakau education funding, then Te Arawa Fisheries and one from the Sir Howard Morrison Foundation. I also get iwi grants from Ngati Whakaue … The thing I love most about studying earth sciences is learning the reality about the earth and its functions … what's not to love about science? Interesting facts are a part of everyday learning!”

STEVE SANSON (Ngapuhi) – Kerikeri
“I'm a graduate planner at the Far North District Council – I'm all finished at Auckland University and currently working at the council. They gave me a scholarship and part of the agreement was a two-year stint with them upon completion. The thing I love most about planning is there is always something different to do. There are a range of different subjects involved and it's constantly challenging and thought provoking … One of my biggest achievements was being able to work with the small community of Te Hana and helping their people in achieving some of their dreams and aspirations, particularly in their efforts to create a better environment for their rangatahi.”

TEAREPA KAHI (Ngati Paoa, Tainui) – Auckland
“I make documentaries and programmes for television and short films and I’ve just had the premiere of my first feature film called Mount Zion … What I think is really important is that more Maori need to be telling our stories so our whole perspective, our world view, is very unique, not just unique to this country but to the world and it requires more storytellers to be telling those stories. What I get out of this personally is hopefully making good stories for my whanau. I try and make everything with my kids in mind, my tamariki in mind, and my whanau … Real personal progress comes when you take yourself out of the competition, where you just look carefully at what it is you want to do, what are the stories that you want to tell.”

TRAVIS O’KEEFE (Ngati Porou) – Auckland
Travis O’Keefe is a social entrepreneur, a New Zealand award winner for innovation and entrepreneurial achievements and holds a number of company directorships. As founder of IMTV Ltd, an early-stage business investment company, Travis has gained success through a variety of ventures including ethnic communications, education and international distribution of technology. He is described by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita Sharples, as “an excellent example of a young Maori business leader who has shown he has the goods to navigate the innovation economy – to access and adopt new technologies, to develop new output from the existing resources”.



Nga Kaihanga Hou – For Maori Future Makers: http://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/in-focus/archive/future-makers/
He Kai Kei Aku Ringa – The Crown-Maori Economic Growth Partnership: http://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/consultation/medp/strategy/
Maori Youth in Education and Employment: http://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/in-print/our-publications/fact-sheets/maori-youth-in-education-and-employment/

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