SOUTHLAND “edutainment” business Farm 4 Life received the supreme award at the 2021 Te Kupeka Umaka Maori ki Araiteuru (KUMA) Maori Business Awards in Invercargill on Friday night.
Farm 4 Life, an online learning platform that delivers on-demand education for the dairy industry, was founded by Maori farming identity Tangaroa Walker.
Mr Walker is the seventh recipient of the Suzanne Spencer Tohu Maumahara Business Award.
The judges based their decision on the impact Mr Walker was having in his local community, using his experience and farming skills to support young people in particular, and the meteoric growth of his online community which put Southland farming in the spotlight.
KUMA board member and judge Karen Roos said his personality and joy at being in front of the camera made for an obvious entertainment factor.
However, in addition to that, Mr Walker’s “life story, his dedication to being on the land, and his manaaki towards others” were significant factors in his being honoured last night, she said.
“Tangaroa is a strong role model in the community and especially for our rangatahi,” she said.
More than 100 people from throughout Otago and Southland and the Southern Lakes district attended the dinner and awards ceremony at Invercargill’s Elmwood Gardens.
The awards celebrate resilience, collaboration and business success for Maori businesses in Otago, Southland and the Queenstown Lakes district.
Other category winners:
Collaboration and innovation (sponsored by Otago Southland Employers’ Association): Check In Ltd (Queenstown); employment and growth (sponsored by Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter): Niche Design & Construction (Hawea); resilience and wellbeing (sponsored by Great South): Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu (Invercargill); emerging enterprise (includes Rangatahi) (sponsored by Poutama Trust): Reigning Downs Hauora Centre (Invercargill); people’s choice award (sponsored by the Otago Regional Business Partner Network): Farm 4 Life.