Māori superfood company Kaitahi has taken the top honour at the biannual Te Mānu Te Atatū Whanganui Māori Business Awards. The business manager, Leonie Matoe believes that economic development is integral for Māori to thrive.
It's Māori business with an edge. Kaitahi is nourishing the masses while feeding into the dreams of South Taranaki iwi, Ngā Rauru Ki Tahi.
Business manager, Leonie Matoe says, "My spirit became happy when Kaitahi was announced as the supreme winners at the Whanganui Māori Business Awards, it's amazing not only for me but for the whole iwi."
More than 300 people attended the awards in their finest attire, celebrating what's considered a vital part of Whanganui's growing economy, that is, local Māori business.
Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa descendant, Pahia Turia says, "It's the heart for the business, for their workers, right down to the roots of what we do. With our protocols leading us in our work."
Māori business accounts for more than $42.6 billion, but poverty is a major inequity for Māori in Whanganui. Te Manu Atatū chairwoman Carol Hayward says collaboration is key to solving such issues.
"As a Māori business network, we look forward to building a stronger partnership with iwi so that we can get the job right and we're a big part in that strategic plan around what's happening in our region," she says.
Matoe adds that business creates opportunity when realised.
"Māori aren't really making the most of the resources out there to get to that level."
The emerging business award went to Lads Brewing Company, with aspiring entrepreneurs encouraged to persevere with their ventures for the shared benefit of the local economy and people.