Māori wāhine business moguls celebrated

By Aroha Mane

Some of the most powerful and influential Māori wāhine in the business industry will be celebrated in this year’s New Year’s Honours List. This year’s recipients include Pania Tyson-Nathan, Maxine Moana-Tuwhainga and Suzanne Louise Ellison.

Mrs Pania Tyson-Nathan (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Porou)
To be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit - For services to Māori and business

Mrs Tyson-Nathan has led the New Zealand Māori Tourism as the Chief Executive for more than 10 years. In her role she was instrumental in transforming the Māori sector of the business from the stereo typical culture experience to a deeper cultural understanding. She also helped broaden the range of tourism experiences.

Mrs Tyson-Nathan is currently the co-leader of the Māori exporters collective, Māori Inc and a director on the Kahungunu Asset Holding Company. She also holds memberships in the following entities, the Māori Economic board, the Ministerial Advisory Group on trade and New Zealand Film Commission Board.

Previously she has been Director of the APEC Business Coalition in the lead up to and following New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 1999, and was the New Zealand focal point for the Women’s Leaders Network until 2005. For many years she has fundraised for initiatives related to the Māori Battalion.

Mrs Tyson-Nathan is married to Evan Nathan (Te Roroa) with eight children.

Ms Maxine Moana-Tuwhangai (Waikato-Tainui)
To be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit - For services to governance and Māori

Standing at the helm of Waikato Tainui’s iwi authority Ms Moana-Tuwhangai is the chair of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato Inc,

Moana-Tuwhanga has represented the iwi on various boards which include the Hamilton City Council, Waipa District Council, Waikato District Council, Waikato regional Council and Mighty River Power.

She is also involved in the education sector as a board member for Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu correspondence school, Operations Manager of Early Childhood Education and the Waikato Institute of Technology.

Her community work includes roles on the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards Trust, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Northern Region Health School, Te Kete Manaaki Health Services, Te Maika Land Trust, Proprietors of Taharoa C Block Inc and the Turangawaewae Branch of the Māori Women’s Welfare League.

She has spent numerous years involved in corporate governance and economic development and is a former member of the APEC Women’s Leaders Network.

Ms Suzanne Louise Ellison (Ngāi Tahu, Ngati Mutunga, Te Ati Awa)
To be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit - For services to Māori, the arts and governance.

Ms Ellison has made a long-standing contribution to community development and culture and heritage. Her career began with iwi community development for Ngāi Tahu as a Communication and Development Officer in 1990. One of her roles was as Arts and Heritage Manager for the Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation, of which she has also been a senior manager for 10 years.

As the chair for the Ngāi Tahu Fund Board, they help fund local and national initiatives such as traditional art workshops, environmental revitalisation projects, and investigations into whānau whakapapa and history to strengthen Ngāi Tahu culture.

She is a member of the Arts Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and previously served two terms as a member of Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. She has previously been a member of the organising committee for Te Māori: Te Hokianga Mai at Otago Museum, a member of the Christchurch Arts Festival Trust Board, and as a Trustee of the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour Trust.