Encouraging Māori and Pasifika entrepreneurship

30 November 2023

Seven St Andrew's College students from the Programming Māori and Pasifika Potential (PMP) Haumi team competing at the regional finals at Ara.


Even with a late pivot to a new idea, a group of seven students in the Programming Māori and Pasifika Potential (PMP) Haumi team finished second in the regional finals at Ara, which was a great outcome for a first attempt in the competition, says Teacher in Charge of Business Studies, Steve Aldhamland. “The team pitched really well, and only just missed out on a spot in the national finals.”

Programming Māori and Pasifika Potential (PMP) is a business incubator established to encourage Māori and Pasifika rangatahi to take a plunge into the world of entrepreneurship. The task for each team in the nationwide competition was to create a digital solution to a social problem. Steve says the team’s original idea didn’t quite fit with all the team members’ passions, so a couple of weeks before they were due to pitch, they switched to a completely new idea. “The team decided to address the problem of falling sports participation by developing an app which provides enhanced supporter engagement with sports stars and teams on the field, more cameras, zoomed-in camera packages, one-on-one conversations with commentators, and statistics. It has the potential to be sold to a sports broadcaster.”

During the 10-week programme, which is a hybrid of a hackathon and start-up weekend, the team, comprising Evangeline McNeill, Te Koha Ware, Elijah Hyde, Portia Bennie (all Year 13), Pippa Witehira, Ruby Beynon (both Year 12) and Hanaatia-Te Kane Hakiwai (Year 9), were mentored every Tuesday morning before school, by Chante Botica with assistance from Raiha Campbell. “We were so fortunate to have Chante. She is an experienced business consultant who together with her husband, Renata Hakiwai, founded the PMP Programme, after seeing the need to encourage more rangitahi into the business and technology sectors,” says Steve.

Each session started with a karakia and breakfast, with manaakitanga wrapped around the programme, he says. “Promoting our culturally diverse students is one of the ways we live our College value of Inclusivity.” As well as exploring entrepreneurship, problem-solving, and digital product design, the students gained exposure to various digital technology programs, including software for brainstorming, meetings, and Lean Canvas, a collaborative tool to help create a business model.

Steve says with significant growth in the Māori business world, the benefits of the PMP Programme can’t be underestimated. “Our rangatahi have learned valuable business skills they could apply to their own businesses in the future. They have been enabled with the software, skills, and confidence to push themselves into the Māori business space once they leave school.”

With PMP gaining momentum at St Andrew’s, Steve expects it to continue next year. “The Year 12 students involved in the programme will become our leaders next year, and we know of several other students who will be a great fit for the programme. It is only going to grow from here.”

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