Kōkiri is being run by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in partnership with MYOBAir New ZealandSpark and Callaghan Innovation. It aims to get new Māori-based start-up enterprises market-ready through lessons, mentoring, initial funding and connections to potential investors. The four-month programme also has support from Crowe HorwathErnst & Young TahiCreative HQColabNZ, and more.

Ten start-ups from across Aotearoa have been selected to participate in the four-month programme, which is based at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s Mangakōtukutuku campus in Hamilton. As part of the programme, Kōkiri participants receive education, funding, mentoring, networking opportunities and engagement with leading business. The programme runs until June (with a demo day scheduled for June 14), and began in earnest this past February.

Among the teams participating is Akudos, a cloud-based awards management system designed to streamline the awards process from beginning to end. Founded by Wairere Iti-Waipu and Richard Brookes, who worked together at an Auckland-based digital agency for several years before forming Akudos in 2016, it already has managed the awards platforms for some of New Zealand’s biggest and most famous events with its software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, and has aspirations of expanding to handling awards platforms for individual businesses, schools, and in overseas markets.

Wairere Iti-Waipu (left) and Richard Brookes of Akudos.

Iti-Waipu and Brookes and MYOB agile coach Aurelien Beraud and MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey came together for a roundtable discussion about Kōkiri, Māori innovation, the importance of “agility” in business and what exactly that word means, and more. Have a listen below.