May 16, 2016
Accolade for supermarket innovator
A Ngapuhi supermarket manager who uses his business to test new food products on some of Auckland’s wealthiest consumers is this year’s outstanding Maori business leader.
Jason Witehira started stacking supermarket shelves at 16, and 32 years on he owns New World Victoria Park Freemans Bay.
He’s also a director of The FoodBowl – Te Ipu Kai, a joint venture between Callaghan Innovation and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development that provides high-tech facilities and expertise for both start-up and established food and beverage services looking to develop new products or test new processing technologies.
He told the audience at the Aotearoa NZ Maori Business Leaders Awards he’s proud to be able to add value to the Maori economy where he can.
The Young Maori Business Leaders Award went to Jamie Tuuta of Ngati Mutunga, who since becoming Maori Trustee in 2011 has overhauled the Maori Trust Office, now known as Te Tumu Paeroa, to make it more responsive to owners of the 100,000 hectares of land it administers.
Miriana Stephens of Ngati Rarua, Ngai Te Rangi, and Ngati Ranginui won the Maori Woman Business Leaders Award, not only for her contribution as a director of Nelson-based Wakatu Incorporation but also for her mahi running small business and money management courses for communities throughout Aotearoa.
Through her consultancy Aotahi she has published a book of indigenous business case studies, a how to guide to entrepreneurship in Aotearoa and and English-Maori dictionary of business terms.
Business consultant Karen Vercoe from Ngati Pikiao won the Dame Mira Szaszy Maori Alumni Award, while Ngai Tahu Holdings took out the award for outstanding Maori business leadership by an organisation.
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