Kiwa Digital takes Māori excellence in export prize at International Business Awards

By Arohanui West

By Arohanui West, Te Rito journalism cadet.

Māori cultural creative agency Kiwa Digital walked away with the top award, he kai kei aku ringa for Māori excellence in export, at the 2022 International Business Awards this week.

Kiwa Digital is the creator of the audio production tool Voice Q, which allows it to cover a soundtrack's original language with another language to make it accessible to a wider audience, a process known as dubbing. 

The company was responsible for dubbing the South Korean Netflix tv series Squid Game into English, which Netflix has named as its most-watched show, with 1.65 billion hours viewed in the first 28 days of its release.

Kiwa Digital honoured at International Business Awards.

Kiwa Digital also worked alongside Matewa Media to produce Disney movies Moana, The Lion King and most recently Frozen in te reo Māori.

It hasn't always been easy for the company since it began almost 20 years ago but chief executive Steven Renata has some advice for other Māori organisations who want to go global.

"Kia kaha, kia manawanui, kia mau - if you can dream it, you can do it. It’s normal that we have Māori there to navigate, to innovate, to collaborate, to lead, to compete. We can be as much of the ecosystem globally as we want to be if we decide we want to be.”

There were 10 award categories in total. Rockit Global, a miniature apple company from Napier came away with the supreme award and Ethique, an ethical plastic-free beauty product company was acknowledged with the excellence in sustainability award. 

The annual formal event was held on the Queen's Wharf in Tāmaki Makaurau and MC’d by television broadcasters Oriini Kaipara and Jesse Mulligan.