Do you know an outstanding Maori business leader?

Blanche Morrogh from Kai Ora Honey. Photo supplied
Blanche Morrogh from Kai Ora Honey. Photo supplied

The call is out for nominations for the University of Auckland Aotearoa Maori Business Leaders Awards.

Blanche Morrogh (nee Murray) of Kai Ora Honey says winning the Young Maori Business Leader Award last year “broke down fear barriers” for the Far North-based whanau business.

“It was motivating and inspiring and gave us the courage to push forward with our ‘outside the box’ ideas,” says Mrs Morrogh, who was also a finalist for Next Women of the Year 2017 in the Business and Innovation category.

Another past winner, Karen Vercoe, says the award generated attention and business. “I received numerous client calls, I was contacted for commercial and not for profit boards, I have been asked to mentor start-up Maori entrepreneurs; but more importantly the positive role model effect on my whanau has been wonderful.”

She has just left the consulting business she founded to take up the role of CEO at Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Other past winners include Blanche Murray, Bailey Mackey, Hinerangi Raumati, Ngarimu Blair, Jamie Tuuta, Miriana Stephens, Mavis Mullins, Jason Witehira, Kingi Smiler and Ian Taylor. Previous organisation award winners include Kahungunu Asset Holding Company, Ngai Tahu Holdings, Tainui Group Holdings, Tuaropaki Trust and Wakatu.

The Maori economy is growing faster than the wider New Zealand economy. It ballooned from an estimated asset base of $9.4 billion in 2001 to $50b in 2017, with some analysts forecasting it could top $100b in the next few years.

Iwi-controlled post-settlement assets alone are now worth $7.8b with that figure predicted to reach $12b by 2026.

Associate Professor Carla Houkamau, Business School Associate Dean, Maori and Pacific, says: “This is an opportunity to recognise the massive contributions made by Maori business leaders – both individuals and organisations – to a buoyant economy grounded in Maori world views, and we warmly encourage nominations.”

The award categories are: Outstanding Maori Business Leader, Maori Women Business Leader, Young Maori Business Leader (aged under 35), Maori Governance Leader, Maori Entrepreneurial Leader, and a category for organisations: Outstanding Maori Business Leadership.

Nominations close March 16 , and winners will be announced at a dinner in Auckland on May 4.
Further details can be found here, or email