As the seven stars of the Pleiades rose in the sky during Matariki 2016, fourteen stars of Māori innovation and business descended on Rotorua for Matariki X, a one-day Māori Inspire event.
The Matariki X event brought them together with more than 300 ambitious, innovation minded Māori entrepreneurs and selected rangatahi (young people) from across the country. The fourteen speakers gave presentations on their business journey (touching on successes and failures), and explored the future for Māori businesses using technology and innovation. Panel sessions and short videos introducing speakers rounded out the event, which followed the theme of ‘Innovation, Inspiration and Overcoming Failure’.
The Matariki X event had fourteen speakers giving presentations on their business journey (touching on successes and failures), and exploring the future for Māori businesses using technology and innovation. Panel sessions and short videos introducing speakers rounded out the event, which followed the theme of ‘Innovation, Inspiration and Overcoming Failure’.
The impressive and diverse line-up of speakers, which included pioneering animator Ian Taylor, NASA engineer Mana Vautier and supermarket chain entrepreneur Jason Witehira, was tasked with four key objectives: motivating the audience to be more ambitious, inspiring rangatahi to become innovators, creating an appetite for risk, and encouraging business owners to recognise failure as a normal part of innovation.
“Matariki X inspired me by giving me confidence to validate my technology and provided me with significant connections to assist my project. I am now working with Callaghan Innovation who support and advise me on how to best develop my technology as well as through grant funding.”
Dr Lance O’Sullivan
Matariki X was the first regional Māori Inspire event and was truly a team effort: Callaghan Innovation partnered with three local enterprises, Poutama Trust; Takiwai, the Rotorua Māori Business Network; and GHA, a consultancy that works with many Māori enterprises. These partnerships provided logistical support on the ground and — crucially — provided a pipeline to reach the regional Māori business leaders who would attend the event.
Organisers and attendees deemed Matariki X a phenomenal success, with surveyed audience members reporting that they were highly likely to make changes to their businesses as a result of attending, and half of the attendees saying they had made connections that would be useful for their businesses. In fact the speakers themselves have since reconvened to devise their own plans to support and drive Māori business innovation collectively — a wholly unexpected result. As well, the event reached people far beyond the venue itself: there was extensive coverage in print and broadcast media, we reached another 29,000 people through Twitter, and the Matariki X speaker videos on Callaghan Innovation’s Facebook page have since been viewed more than 40,000 times.
Feedback from the event was extremely positive, with one attendee letting us know that, “This was as high a quality event as I’d ever been to both locally and internationally. There was a great balance of topics across the speakers from various industries. The value-packed talks motivated me to look up more detail later and the experience provided contacts to call on when the time comes. In particular it was encouraging to hear about the real world lessons to be learned and how solutions were put into practice.” As a result of the event 48 customers expressed a desire to know more about Callaghan Innovation and how we can help their business succeed through technology.
Updated: 6 September 2019