Māoriverse are connecting the Māori economy to the world! Creating a platform for our people to have a voice.
This whānau enterprise is out to solve cultural appropriation, the authenticity of Māori businesses and their products.
Māoriverse is on a mission to call out cultural exploitation and appropriation, and the 5000+ problems that have come as a result of it.
This passionate team of 5 self-proclaimed ‘Māoribots’ believe they are the right people to tackle this problem because they are passionate about this topic and they want to help people to be able to identify authentically Māori products and service providers, to make it easier for everyone to navigate the online world.
Māoribots are here to create a platform to create a voice, to create an online space where our people can take back control of our culture. Within the Māoriverse team, every member has spent decades contributing to everyone else’s progression.
“So here we are, supporting all these other people to achieve their aspirations – but what could we do with all of our talents when we focus them to lift our people. We have the skills, the quals, the passion, and the desire to help our people”.
Just like Captain Planet – the Māoriverse team represent all of the elements that came together with an idea to help support the indigenous people of Aotearoa. “We’ve seen problems, we’ve worked in these places before, we work in them every day, and we want to fix it. We’ve seen people fix certain parts, but we want to bring it all together.”
The Māoriverse believe the time is ripe for this idea because, “We’re not getting any younger, it’s for our kids… a legacy in the making. Māori have been needing this for so many years already, and we want to do this now to support the emerging generation. We are doing elements of this work for others but now we’ve decided to come home and do it for ourselves and our people.” Says co-founder Wiha.
James adds “In the last two years working through covid there was a lot of money available for Māori businesses. I (James) had the chance to work with 30+ Māori businesses and it was evident that you could see the lack of ability for them to market, promote and sell their business services and products, yet at the same time we could also see that people were looking for their services”
Donella concludes, “If we don’t do it now, the divide will still exist if not widen further.”
The Māoribots have spent the last 12 weeks validating, and building out their MVP and without any marketing to date, they’ve already signed up 20 businesses for their soon-to-be-launched platform. They have gathered their community, with a range of influential people within Te ao Māori ready to promote the platform when it goes live. The team also have approximately 500 followers as a starting base and are reaching 10,000 people with their early posts.
What the Māoriverse want from you, is “We want corporate sponsors that leverage tikanga, te reo, toi Māori, etc to sponsor the associated costs for Māori businesses to use our platform.”
They also seek to connect with Iwi who can support them with their efforts to ‘verify’ Māori businesses.
James Davis-Sigley (Ngāti Awa,Ngāti Kahungunu), Wiha Hiku (Te Uri o Tai, Ngai Tūteauru), Taite Raniera (Ngāti Hine), Donnella Piripi (Ngāti Korora, Te Waiariki) and Edith Davis-Sigley (Ngāti Korora, Te Waiariki, Ngā Rauru).
Katie Te Nahu Owen
“The Kōkiri programme has given our team the chance to work on ourselves as well as the business. It has given us the time to focus on each other, our strengths, our weaknesses, and by doing so helped us to identify where we should be playing. It has given us a template to follow and brought our business 2 years into the future – what would have taken us 2 years has taken us 2 months to accomplish.”
In addition to the speed of development, Donnella explains “We’ve been exposed to so many experts in such a short period of time, we’ve created the belief in ourselves to give us the energy to get through. Importantly our participation in Kōkiri has helped us to validate, and helped us work toward product-market fit.”
She continues “It’s been a big brother on our back just pushing us, if we had just gone ahead and done it we would have missed so many things, the pitch practices have been mean.”
Since starting Kōkiri the team says that they have learned more about themselves. Key opportunities that have occurred because of their participation in Kōkiri include being offered pūtea (money), the chance to build a really good advisory board, and above all, it has made them focus on their commitment to the kaupapa – they wouldn’t have prioritised it otherwise.
When answering the question, ‘why should others be part of Kōkiri in the future?’ This is what the team had to say:
“Apply to Kōkiri for the opportunity it brings, it opens so many doors and makes you really think about your business from a very different perspective. Apply for the opportunity to network with experts who have been through similar pathways to you, you get to hear the stories and experiences of others. Apply if you want to fast forward your business to establish and drive you forward – true acceleration. And definitely apply if you really want to get your business somewhere, Kōkiri gives you the right tools to get there a lot faster – Kōkiri brings everything into alignment to support your growth and your business development, and importantly we have done all this in an environment that allowed us to be Māori.”