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Kōkiri Team Announcement

Kōkiri is pleased to announce the successful Māori-led start-ups invited to participate in the 2020 programme. Nine technology-focused start-ups from a wide range of industries such as legal services, digital language learning, agri-tech and power generation make up the new cohort.

As the economic impacts of COVID-19 hit at every level of business in Aotearoa, Kōkiri and its partners remain committed to delivering the 2020 programme to support early-stage Māori ventures during these challenging times.

Aisha Ross, head of Kōkiri at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa says that now more than ever, we need to support start-ups and whānau ventures. “Kōkiri is dedicated to developing sustainable business models and financial resilience while focusing on team hauora and uplifting the mana of our business founders.”

Businesses are rethinking their operations, and Kōkiri is no different. The 2020 programme has pivoted to be delivered virtually, allowing flexibility using digital tools, distance-learning methodology and remote coaching. Programme content will take into consideration the changing business horizons, and be flexible to incorporate real-time changes for teams to be ‘recovery-ready’ for the future.

“We will take the teams through our kaupapa Māori approach blended with best practise acceleration tools while utilising online delivery. Although this year's programme will be different, the teams will remain supported through mentoring, connections with business experts, and introductions to investor networks” says Ross.

Ian Musson, Māori business and relationships manager at Callaghan Innovation, says Aotearoa has already proven itself in building world-leading startups, and that the challenge is finding a way for our Maori whānau to build on that success.

“I believe we can expand our Māori enterprises and that we are well-positioned, to lead, not just participate in this space. Kōkiri is the ideal platform to showcase this local talent and, with global partnerships in place, Kōkiri can put Aotearoa businesses on the world stage,” says Musson.

Ingrid Cronin-Knight, MYOB New Zealand country manager says the next Kōkiri cohort covers a wide range of sectors and represent the diversity of local start-ups.

“MYOB is excited to work with the teams who are each unique in their product and service offering. Their contribution to the local economy will be vital, particularly given the kaupapa are motivated with Māori values which better balances guardianship of our communities, the environment and business impacts for future generations.”

Kōkiri is a Māori business acceleration programme, based on kaupapa Māori values, focused on accelerating early-stage Māori led start-ups who have bold ambitions and are impact positive.

The programme start has been tentatively rescheduled to Monday 18 May 2020. Visit to learn more.

The ten start-ups selected for the 2020 cohort are:

Barrett Dynamics
Based in Te Awamutu

Whānau-led R&D venture filling a significant gap in the renewable energy space with grid power storage solutions and aims to reignite solar power as an energy alternative.

  • Manu Barrett (Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu)
  • Nikki Barrett (Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Porou)
  • Pape Barrett (Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu)

Based in Auckland

Local SaaS start-up that makes quoting for construction and building work easy by streamlining the pricing process saving contractors and customers time and money.

  • Joshua Faraimo (Ngāti Toa)
  • Rayleen Elliott (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Kahungunu)
  • Jarome Cavubati
Little Mouse Co.
Based in Auckland & Berlin, Germany

Founders of the digital language app, Lingogo, that helps learners to nail their fluency dreams by reading and listening to stories in their target language.

  • Lizzie Dunn (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Arawa)
  • Shelley Dunn (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Arawa)
  • Hannah Craig
Nau Mai Rā
Based in Hamilton

New Zealand's first Māori power company that reduces energy costs for households while sharing their profits with whānau to support their marae or other Māori initiatives.

  • Ezra Hirawani (Ngāti Hako me Waikato Tainui)
  • Brittany Hirawani (Rongowhakaata)
  • Benjamin Armstrong (Waikato Tainui - Ngāti Hine)

RH Innovation
Based in Hamilton

Agri-tech business that helps farmers to apply the right amounts of nitrogen or water for optimal farm performance such as reducing costs and environmental impact.

  • Tyler Crabtree (Ngai Te Rangi, Te Arawa, Ngati Awa, Ngapuhi)
  • Rahat Hasan
  • Bismarck Simeon
  • Daniel Wood
  • Mohammed Kariri
Stay Native
Based in Whangarei

A social enterprise that helps indigenous whānau and hapori (communities) to build, promote and share authentic cultural experiences with travellers.

  • Te Ara Armstrong (Ngati Wai, Ngai Hine}
  • Chanelle Armstrong (Ngapuhi, Ngai Tahu)
  • Pam Armstrong (Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua, Ngapuhi)
  • Chala Chase (Ngati Wai, Ngai Hine)
Based in Auckland

A digital advertising agency that repurposes storefront windows into multitouch local marketing platforms to empower people to support, search and spend locally.

  • Corrie Lane (Waikato Tainui)
  • Dean Murray
Based in Wellington & Tauranga

Event ticketing start-up that supports event organisers and customers to make the whole ticketing experience easy for any events size, from small functions to festivals & concerts.

  • Moewaka Coffey (Tangahoe)
  • Claudia Colenso (Ngati Porou)
Based in Waikato & Bay of Plenty

Ture™ is an online marketplace that allows better access to legal services and free information about the law in Aotearoa, including the NZFreeLaw podcast.

  • Julia Steenson (Ngāti Whātua, Waikato/Tainui)
  • Sharon Pimlott (Te Atiawa)
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Published On: 3 April, 2020

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