First Māori innovation hub to develop Māori businesses

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne, Online News - Rereātea
  • Wellington

Callaghan Innovation is today opening a centre for Māori business innovators at the Gracefield Innovation Quarter in Lower Hutt.

The Māori innovation hub "Te Whare a Māui"  is a shared working space, with tools to assist collaboration and innovation.

Māori innovators will be able to meet with each other and work alongside Callaghan Innovation's business and research experts.

The Gracefield Innovation Quarter contains some of the best minds, facilities and equipment for technology and product development in New Zealand.

Callaghan Innovation works with ambitious Māori businesses that are developing new technology, such as Kono New Zealand, Miraka and Kiwa Digital.

Callaghan Innovation’s Interim Chief Executive Hemi Rolleston says, "It is a place to connect with Māori, cook up new ideas and help your business grow. We help all Māori businesses that want to innovate.”

Kono New Zealand is Wakatū Incorporation’s food and beverage business. Director and Innovation Coordinator Miriana Stephens says Te Whare a Māui will help build invaluable connections for the company.

“Some of the best things we’ve found about working with Callaghan Innovation are the links we’ve made to other businesses and a range of research expertise.  The Innovation Hub will make it easier to work together, share insights and build relationships.  Being part of it is going to take us to a whole new level.”

Kiwa Digital is one of the world’s leading producers of interactive digital books. Global Business Development Director Steven Renata says “Callaghan Innovation have been a tremendous support,” for the company.

“They bring world class research and development that we didn’t have expertise in. The help around future products and services has been fantastic.”

Rolleston says, "The Māori economy is a big part of the New Zealand economy and it’s a growing force. We have some great products, great stories, and great technology and so we’re really trying to unlock it. We see unlimited potential and I think what’s good for the Māori economy is good for the New Zealand economy."

The opening will feature a talk from Masterchef 2014 winners and award-winning authors Karena and Kasey Bird, of television show Kasey and Karena’s Kitchen Diplomacy. They are growing a business and looking into indigenous food research.

Those interested in working with Callaghan Innovation can call 0800 422 552 or go to www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz