Last month, I travelled with 36 Māori leaders to the United States, for a Māori Leaders “boot camp”, a week long course at Stanford University, San Francisco. The course was called ‘Aspiration: To Unlock the Power of Māori Primary Sector’.

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the course, which turned out to be a journey of discovery, learning, inspiration and facilitated discussion to explore the potential of our businesses for New Zealand. We analysed case studies of successful businesses and gained insights from globally recognised thought-leaders.

The Lectures included brain-based thinking and innovation; harnessing collective intelligence, understanding the Chinese markets and opportunities; creating value; and strategic thinking. These lectures reinforced for us all that Māori values bring a uniqueness to business that is truly appreciated – especially our whānau values and the importance of treating all people with respect.

We also had the opportunity to visit Google in the Silicon Valley and saw some amazing new technology still to be tested and released. The Google visit was an overwhelming and mind-blowing experience and gave me a much better understanding of how the new technology coming out of the Silicon Valley is shaping the world our tamariki and mokopuna will be living in and leading. It also showed me that there is so much possibility in terms of convenience and shared information. If managed correctly, emerging technologies will bring great benefits for our people.

The trip also included a visit to the quay to meet and network with the New Zealand businesses, which are there for the America’s Cup. We got to see where Team New Zealand is based for the competition.

On my return home, I was also greeted with good news about our annual results. In this edition you will find a summary of our annual report for the past financial year. It shows that we have had another excellent year right across the Board, with successful programme initiatives launched and milestones reached. I take a particular interest in those programs which build on and support the capability of our people.

The Manawa Hou programme, which provides the opportunity for our rangatahi to learn more about our Ngāi Tahu stories and history through wānanga and activities at the Papatipu Rūnanga, our Associate Governor Programme, Manawa Nui, which provides the opportunity for aspiring Ngāi Tahu governors to sit on our commercial subsidiary boards and the ongoing success of He Toki, a pathway to lifetime employment via trades training.

Ngā mihi,