Within the Asia New Zealand Foundation, we often talk about Māori having the edge in Asia - we’ve seen it, we’ve heard about it – so what is “it”? With interview questions in hand, we set out on a mission to talk to Māori operating successfully in Asia and uncover the enigma that is the Māori-in-Asia x-factor. Who are they, what are they doing and why are they succeeding?
Ko Matawhāura, ko Maungapōhatu ngā maunga e tū whakahī. Mai i Maketū ki Tongariro, mai i Ngā Kurī a Whārei ki Tihirau, ko Te Arawa, ko Mātaatua ngā waka. Ko Ngāti Pikiao, ko Ngāti Whakaue, ko Tūhourangi, ko Tūhoe ngā iwi. Ko Atera Apirana ahau.
As a New Zealand volleyball representative, Hana Manihera-Double (Ngāi Tūhoe) has travelled the world with her chosen sport.
Karl Johnstone (Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri) is the owner and director of Haumi NZ, a business that initiates designs and delivers projects of national and international significance both in New Zealand and throughout the world.
In the short time since incorporating the tech startup Āhau NZ Ltd in 2018, founding director Kaye-Maree Dunn and her team have won a hackathon competition and secured substantial investment capital to establish a proof of concept and archive prototype while dually partnering with 34 marae and four tribal entities as early adopters of the platform.
Each year, government agencies across Austronesian-language speaking countries from Hawaii to New Zealand select an indigenous student to attend the Taiwan Council of Indigenous People’s Programme for Cultivation of Young Talent for International Affairs. In 2018 Mihi Satele was that student.
Nikora Ngāropo (Te Rarawa, Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu) is a Māori digital exponent and tech entrepreneur whose engagement in Asia is thriving. Nikora is the director and founder of NNMD and Young Animators, a Māori-led, design and animation company.
Rongorito Ellison (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrakei) and her husband Leon Ellison have been engaging in Asia intermittently since 2014 and have recently relocated there with their children for Leon’s professional rugby career.
Professional rugby player Tamati Ellison (Kai Tahu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Wehiwehi, Ngāti Tama) is very comfortable in Asia, having spent ten years living in Japan together with his wife Meremaraea (Ngāti Mākea, Ngāti Kainuku) and their five children.
Do Māori have an edge when engaging in Asia? We ask Tāpeta Wehi who is making a living out of doing just that.