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Māori Innovation Challenge winners reached for the stars

Published: 9 July 2018

The stars were aligned for winners of the DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge during Matariki – the cluster of stars which heralds the start of the Māori new year.

DIGMYIDEA finalists came from around New Zealand for a DIGIwānanga, a mentoring workshop and Dragon’s Den style pitch session, at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Mangere, south Auckland.

The Māori Innovation Challenge, now in its third year, is delivered by Auckland’s economic growth agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) which is focused on creating quality jobs for all Aucklanders.

The competition aims to attract more Māori into the thriving digital sector by stimulating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. More than 200 entries were received this year, a record number and twice the amount submitted in 2017.

Each winning idea receives a business startup and support package worth $10,000.

DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge 2018 winners:

  • Rerenga o te Kora: (15-24-year-olds)
    Jordon Messiter from Hamilton with ‘Homely’ - a digital marketplace that connects tenants with good landlords.
  • Muranga o te Ahi (25 years and over)
    Arena Williams from Auckland and Eric Goddard from Wellington with ‘Kōwhiri’ – a digital election platform for iwi in Te Reo Māori and English

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for many Māori, means the start of a new year. The DIGIwānanga ran when Matariki can be seen just above the horizon before the sun comes up; a great connection between a new year and the birth of new ideas.

DIGMYIDEA judge, Kaye-Maree Dunn, Special Projects Manager from Māori Womens Development Inc says she was impressed by the volume and calibre of ideas that came through.

“It’s exciting to see an increase of wahine Maori applicants and many coming from all sorts of backgrounds and communities, wanting to see how digital technology can make a real difference to others’ lives.

"Eighty per cent of the ideas that came through are focused on making a transformative difference to the lives of whanau, hapu and iwi."

ATEED’s General Manager Economic Development, Pam Ford, congratulates the finalists and winners describing the digital ideas as exciting, innovative and entrepreneurial.

“The ideas I heard today make great use of technology including virtual reality, transparent LCD screens and a smart bio-tech application.

“Our digital sector is thriving, impacting all sectors. DIGMYIDEA helps to build Māori entrepreneurs so they continue to be active contributors in the digital economy, securing higher-skilled jobs and increased income.”

Kaye-Maree Dunn was one of three DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge judges, joining Ian Musson, programme director at Kōkiri, a business accelerator programme and Mike Taitoko, co-founder of Takiwā Ltd, a technology company.


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