Rise Up!

Fourteen Māori women will soon make their mark as graduates of the world’s first indigenous international leadership coaching programme.

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2016 | Rāapa, 17 Huitanguru, 2016

International business coach Rachel Petero (Ngāti Tamaoho, Ngāti Whāwhākia) has been working with the Māori Women’s Development Inc.(MWDI) who are investing in the Rise2025 programme to transform their company culture and the businesses they serve.

Driven by a personal mission to get more indigenous women into top roles in corporates and communities, Rachel returned home last year from Qatar to deliver the programme after 15 years abroad in the UK and Middle East. 

There she successfully led award winning talent, leadership and gender diversity transformation programmes for graduates, women and boards in a range of industries.

Now, she says it’s time to apply her knowledge at home to help Māori women realise their potential.

“We are preparing this amazing pool of talent to step into board, government, corporate, coaching and leadership roles in the next decade. RISE builds awareness from the outset and the importance of emotional and cultural intelligence in new world leaders as a core behavioral difference.”

The soon-to-be graduates applied to MWDI to train as Financial Capability and Business Coaches and run their own businesses around the country.

“We wanted to add value to our business and build local capacity,” said MWDI chief executive Teresa Tepania-Ashton. 

“The intent is that Rise2025 will allow our women to be coaches and mentors to people in their own regions and communities.”

For Teresa, the biggest gain from the coaching programme has been increased self-awareness. “The power of communication and learning to break down barriers though listening and asking the simple questions, have been important things I have learned.”

The biggest challenge she says, was being open to vulnerability, “and realising my own self-limiting beliefs.”

Rise launch.

Rise2025 is recognised as an accredited International Coach Federation (ICF) programme with a 10-year global strategy to positively impact 100,000 indigenous women and girls by 2025. 


By next year the aim is to have 100 Māori, Pacific Island and Asian women complete the programme.

Te Puni Kōkiri through the MWDI is supporting the 14 women through the programme and Teresa hopes her organisation will be offering it again to Māori women in the future. 

The programme was launched in Parliament late last year by the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell.