It was a packed house and special Matariki event for the Māori Women’s Development Inc, (MWDI), official launch of HINEPRENEUR at Parliament. Māori business women and entrepreneurs travelled from around Aotearoa to celebrate a dynamic initiative to ensure Māori women succeed in business and achieve their aspirations for whānau, hāpu and iwi writes guest contributor Helena Bethune.

Chief Executive of MWDI, Teresa Te Pania-Ashton said , “Hinepreneur grows and develops women to rediscover and unleash their entrepreneurial talents.” Already, the initiative, also designed to help grow the Māori economy, has reach into Canada with Tautoko Consulting who are working with indigenous first nations people.Photo 1 Tangatwhenua MWDI and Hinpreneur business coaches 9 June 2016

The celebration included twelve experienced Māori business women from various iwi who were selected and trained to lead business and mentoring coaching. The coaches come from leadership backgrounds including small and growing businesses, corporate governance, Marae based roles, private sector and many are mothers who are inspiring and motivating their tamariki and mokopuna to achieve in business.

Tiowaana Harrington hails from Ngāpuhi and with Pacific whakapapa to Rarotonga. She hopes to travel there one day and explore business opportunities with Pacific peoples. Tiowanna describes her leadership style as, “transformational.”

“I’m excited about nurturing new Hinepreneur clients.”  She describes Hinepreneur as a “change agent” and her focus is on building and strengthening communities around her marae as a platform. Tiowaana says, “Up north where I live in Kaikohe, there is a need for opportunities and we can create good business opportunities by using the marae as a hub.” Working alongside her marae, Te Kotahitanga, one of her goals for her people is to develop social enterprise initiatives.

“I really liked the Blue Skin project developing wind power.” The Blueskin Energy Project, based near Dunedin, aims to develop New Zealand’s first community-owned wind cluster, that can generate revenue which can be invested in local development.

Photo 2 Tangatawhenua Tiowanna Harrington Hinpreneur event 9 June 2016.Women interested in Māori business are encouraged to apply to MWDI to complete a Hine BOSS 3-day programme. Hinepreneur is a partnership with Poutama Trust and social enterprise experts the AKINA foundation. It builds on tailored programmes over 29 years which has seen MWDI distribute 1 million in micro-enterprise loans to assist Māori in contributing to the New Zealand economy.

Photo 1 – Hinepreneur launch, Māori Women’s Development Incorporated with Hinepreneur business mentors and coaches, NZ Parliament, Wellington. (9 June 2016)

Photo 2 – Tiowaana Harrington (Ngāpuhi) Hinepreneur business coach, Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings, Wellington (9 June 2016)

Many thanks to Helena Bethune for this amazing korero. Ka nui te mihi e te tuahine otira kia kaha e nga Wahine paearahi.

Picture Credits: Helena Bethune

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