Miraka wins inaugural Māori Excellence in Export award at 2015 NZ International Business Awards

25 March 2015: A well-articulated Māori-centric story, deep connections to its local community, suppliers and partners, and a strong-minded and fully integrated approach to international business have helped Taupo-based company Miraka secure the inaugural He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export award at tonight’s New Zealand International Business Awards. Nelson-based Sealord and premium food and beverage company Kono were also finalists in the category. 

The Award, supported by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Te Puni Kōkiri and The Treasury, recognises Māori business contribution to the New Zealand export economy and the approach, values and tikanga that underpin and uniquely define Māori business.

Established in 2011, Miraka is a predominately Māori-owned business that manufactures milk powder and UHT milk products for export to 23 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America. It is also the first company in the world to use renewable electricity and steam to run milk powder processing operations.

The judging panel, featuring Robin Hapi, Sir Wira Gardiner, Tina Wilson and Janine Smith, described Miraka as a “single-minded and fully integrated Māori business”. The panel noted that with kaupapa firmly embedded into the business, Miraka clearly shows what it means to be a Māori business

“The panel consider Miraka to be a new, innovative and exciting Māori business with Māori values and principles clearly embedded across its organisation,” they said.

Miraka was set up as a Māori-owned and managed vertically-integrated dairy business in order to secure better returns for the owners. This focus on protecting its resources provides a sense of security for suppliers, staff and customers who know Miraka is here to stay. Its establishment is a source of pride for Māori around New Zealand who see the company succeeding in a tightly regulated, volatile and competitive industry.

Miraka’s business is underpinned by the values of tikanga, kaitiakitanga, innovation, excellence and integrity. The company works closely with all its suppliers, monitoring and supporting them to ensure its high environmental standards are met. The price premium Miraka pays its milk suppliers has seen an additional $5 million injected into the local rural economy over the past three years.

Judge Robin Hapi says it is terrific to see “three mighty stars of the Māori economy” competing for this inaugural award.

“We acknowledge the mana, ancestors and journeys of Kono and Sealord, as well as Miraka. But if the Māori economy is going to grow, more Māori companies of international scale need to take their place on the world’s stage.

“Miraka serves as an inspiration to other Māori companies who currently are - or have ambition to - grow internationally.” 

Journalists seeking more information can contact:

Deirdre Robert

Senior Communications Consultant, NZTE

(09) 354 9139


Editor's notes

About the New Zealand International Business Awards

The New Zealand International Business Awards are organised by NZTE, with the support of Strategic Partner ANZ. They celebrate New Zealand business success in the world and recognise professional excellence and innovative practice. They provide an opportunity for New Zealand businesses to benchmark performance, build capability and boost employee morale.

The panel for the He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export award featured:

  • Robin Hapi, NZTE and Callaghan Innovation Board Member, Chair of BERL, Chair of Te Wananga-o-Raukawa.
  • Sir Wira Gardiner, Chairman of holding company Lawson Powell Limited and former professional soldier, senior public servant and writer.
  • Tina Wilson, Chief Executive Officer for the Iwi Investor Group, Senior Investment Advisor and Specialised Manager for the IWIinvestor KiwiSaver Scheme, Director of tourism company Kai Waho, and Chair of Professional Services company He Akina.
  • Janine Smith, Chair of AsureQuality, Director of Steel and Tube Holdings and Kensington Swan Legal, and a Principal of The Boardroom Practice Limited.
The Māori economy

The Māori economy is substantial, totaling around $40 billion across a range of asset classes including: 40% of forestry land, 38% of fishing quota, 30% of lamb production, 12% of beef and sheep units, 10% of dairy production, 10% of kiwifruit, and ownership of geothermal, digital, services, education and tourism businesses.

Māori population are young (23.9 years median age) and represent a large section of the future workforce – 63% of the population are working age.