Tēnā koutou katoa
Vanessa here, standing in for Ivy as she takes a well-deserved break.
Full disclosure: Those of you who know me, know that I am Murihiku born and bred and, yes, I may just have a soft spot for our southern entities and partners. Still, even without my Southland glasses on, the talent on display at last weekend’s KUMA Southern Māori Business Awards was incredible.
We travelled to Queenstown for the awards to support the Whānau Ora entities and partners who had made it into the finals, and Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was also a key sponsor for the event. We had an incredible two days of whakawhanaungatanga, first at the sponsors event held last Friday, then at the Southern Māori Market Day the next day and, of course, at the awards ceremony and gala dinner itself on Saturday night.
The biennial Te Kupeka Umaka Māori ki Āraiteuru (KUMA) awards cover Ōtakou/Otago, Murihiku/Southland and the Queenstown Lakes District and this year focused on mātauranga Māori – the significance of Māori knowledge, wisdom, and cultural practices in business. We mihi to all involved in the awards, from the organisers, volunteers to the sponsors, and especially to all those who were brave enough to put themselves in the spotlight and enter.
We were so proud to be associated with four organisations who received awards on the night: Skillsec, Awarua Synergy, Whānau Consultancy Services and Kia Kaha Chemist.
Skillsec, from Dunedin, was the recipient of He Tohu Whakawhanaungatanga, the collaboration award, sponsored and presented by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. Skillsec, which is Dunedin-based, is a Navigator Partner of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu that provides work placement and training.
Awarua Synergy, which has featured previously in the awards, were also highly commended in the He Tohu Whakawhanaungatanga, Collaboration Award category.
Awarua Synergy was created out of the Bluff Healthy Homes project, run by Awarua Research and Development, a subsidiary of the Te Rūnaka o Awarua Charitable Trust. Awarua Synergy are installers and suppliers of energy-efficient products.
Meanwhile, Whānau Consultancy Services took home He Tohu Pito Mata, the emerging business leadership award. Whānau Consultancy Services was established by Serena Lyders, a previous kaimahi of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and recipient of Wave funding to provide an indigenous cultural experience of professional, educational, spiritual and hauora/wellbeing service.
Kia Kaha Chemist was awarded with highly commended in He Tohu Manaakitanga, the customer excellence award category. Kia Kaha Chemist provides whānau with access to information about their health, medicine, nutrition, and supplements for good health. Director Brendon McIntosh has had a longstanding relationship with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu through different initiatives and played an exceptional role throughout our COVID-19 response.
Another big winner on the night was Janine Kapa, of Kia Māia Bicultural Communications.
There was a standing ovation for Janine as she was named recipient of KUMA’s eponymous award, He Tohu Maumahara ki a Suzanne Spencer. This award recognises the contribution Janine has made to individual businesses, as well as the KUMA network, and in acknowledgement of the wairua and empathy, grace and integrity she brings to her mahi.
The KUMA awards are the perfect showcase of the wealth of Māori talent in the south. We remain a strong supporter, southern-born or not!
Noho ora mai
Pou Kōkiri, Deputy Chief Executive