Kōkiri 26 – Tāmaki Makaurau: Māori Social Entrepreneurs

Published in Kōkiri 26, Ngahuru - Autumn 2012

Te Puni Kōkiri Tāmaki Makaurau has supported two key partnership agreements; both between the New Zealand School of Social Entrepreneurs and Te Hana O Te Marama Marae (Northern Kaipara) and Ruapotaka Marae (East Auckland), respectively.

The agreements resulted in four unique Māori scholarships that ultimately support social entrepreneurial activities in ventures aimed at improving the lives of those in the communities of the social entrepreneur.

Pauline Kingi Regional Director says her staff have worked hard to support early-stage Māori entrepreneurs to build sustainable new social enterprises, social businesses and non-profit ventures.

“This school provides a unique opportunity for four Māori social entrepreneurs in the inaugural cohort of 12 students, with these students coming from Te Hana O Te Marama and Ruapotaka Marae.

Te Puni Kōkiri’s support for Te Hana O Te Marama Marae and Ruapotaka Marae aimed to help both organisations to create sustainable social enterprises to lead social changes for Māori in their communities.

“History has proven social change is people powered. The school is about supporting these individuals with access to experts, coaching, tutorials, shared study sessions with like-minded entrepreneurs as well as developing day-to-day operating skills so that they can create a robust and enduring contribution,” Pauline Kingi says.

The Māori ventures, which are part of a total of 12, include: creating a Marae database; connecting families and communities through creative projects; and improving educational and long-term outcomes for at-risk children and youth.

Some of the enterprises are in the start up phase, others have been up and running for more than a decade.

The Executive Director of the Social Entrepreneurs School, Faye Langdon, says despite the diversity of the projects there are some characteristics the students share.

“A social entrepreneur is an individual who shows all the classic traits of entrepreneurship - the drive, passion and resilience,” she says. “And the ‘social’ side is that they are committed to bringing about social change, which often comes from their direct experience.”

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