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Māori Future Makers website


Inspirational role models share their motivational success stories in online video interviews aimed at encouraging Māori to pursue higher levels of education, training, employment, enterprise and innovation.

An interactive website – www.MaoriFutureMakers.com – was launched by the Minister of Māori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita R Sharples, at Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae in Māngere, Auckland, today (11.00 am, Thursday 14 February 2013).

A total of 30 high-achievers studying, employed or self-employed in primary, knowledge intensive and growth industries are captured on film for the new resource. From entrepreneurs and engineers to neurobiologists and nanoscientists, the Māori Future Makers talk candidly to the camera about their study pathways, educational achievements, skills, work experiences and professional opportunities. They include:

  • Mechatronics engineering student, young dad Anaru O’Connor (Ngāti Porou), from Papakura, who is also pursuing a conjoint degree in Chinese and Māori.
  • Computer games and applications developer Maru Nihoniho (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu), owner of Metia Interactive.
  • Award-winning technology entrepreneur Rod Drury (Ngāi Tahu), chief executive of Xero which now has nearly 100,000 customers in 100 different countries.
  • Environmental planner Lisa Kanawa (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Raukawa) who is in training for an all-female South Pole expedition in November.
  • Design professional and artist David Hakaraia (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Paoa) whose Māori-inspired work will be exhibited at a furniture fair in New York in May.
  • Successful social entrepreneur and mentor Travis O’Keefe (Ngāti Porou) who utilises his business skills to help solve problems in society.

Says O’Keefe: “If I was a young person, my advice would be to say yes to everything!

“Go out and try everything – learn the lesson. If you enjoy it, repeat it and keep doing it. Find your passion and don’t believe people when they say you can’t do it.”

Supported by Te Puni Kōkiri, the Māori Future Makers website is a practical, simple and engaging tool to support students and whānau to make more informed decisions about education, training and careers. The personal experiences of each role model is linked to study options and survival tips, course information, scholarship and iwi funding opportunities, and helpful links such as on-campus whānau groups that can support students.

Māori Future Makers with specialist skills and capabilities in different industries and occupations are also showcased to Māori and mainstream employers and businesses as well as a worldwide global audience. The shoot took the production team from Auckland to Christchurch including Tūrangi, Taupō, Hastings, Tauranga, Wairoa, Gisborne, Ruatōria and Wellington.

Project leader Moana Maniapoto from Muriwai-based Black Pearl Limited says the Māori students and whānau who informed the initial research project highlighted the difficulties in having to search the internet to source information from multiple websites. Moana says the new website pools all the “good” information into one space created specifically for Māori while social media such as Facebook and Twitter complement the online content.

“These Māori Future Makers are a clever bunch of people. They come from all walks of life – small towns, big whānau, city schools and families that have very little money. Some were not outstanding students at school, others were unsure if they could cope with the pressures of study or living away from home.

“Yet all of them are passionate about what they do and they've learnt a few things along the way too. Like what subjects you should take at school, what type of study programme works for them, how to survive years of study and how to stay motivated, where to apply for scholarships and grants, what fun you can have in your spare time – and how you are never too old to learn.

“Best of all, they know what opportunities exist for Māori who arm themselves with certain qualifications or skills. This resource is about realising Māori potential by growing Māori assets – and our biggest asset is our people.”

To view the videos, connect and converse with the Māori Future Makers or for more information:

Filed under: productive partnerships | identity language and culture

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