‘World first’: Wāhine Māori tech leaders to explore trade in UK and Europe

Te Taumata, representing a voice of Māori interests in global trade, is to spearhead a world-first wāhine Māori in tech trade initiative in the UK and Europe, alongside New Zealand innovation agency Callaghan Innovation.

The knowledge exchange, which takes place in June this year, will see ten wāhine Māori tech leaders explore trade opportunities in Ireland, France and the UK, culminating in participation at London Tech Week.

“We are committed to supporting the growth of wāhine Māori in tech and fostering international connections,” says Te Taumata trustee Naomi Manu (Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa).

Māori aspirations

Free trade agreements with the UK and EU include a Māori trade and cooperation chapter that provides a new platform to advance Māori economic aspirations. The UK is one of only three countries with a tech industry valuation of more than one trillion US dollars.

The UK-FTA came into force in May 2023 and the EU-FTA will take effect from 1 May this year.

Callaghan Innovation’s Francis Davy, Head of Māori and Government Engagement, says the initiative has valuable long-term prospects for Māori.

“This partnership will help support the long-term growth aspirations of Māori businesses.”

The wāhine Māori will participate in London Tech Week, where they will have the opportunity to explore emerging technologies, attend conferences, network with industry leaders and investigate market opportunities in Ireland, France and the UK.

The exchange will strengthen ties between Aotearoa and the UK and European markets, paving the way for future collaborations and innovation, says Manu.

“This knowledge exchange also includes a six-month post-exchange programme of support to build an ecosystem of wāhine Māori in tech who are trade ready and export enabled.”

Inspiration for wāhine Māori

Women only comprise 26.7% of the tech industry in New Zealand and Māori only make up 4.1%, meaning there is a greater need for initiatives that encourage diversity in the sector, Te Taumata says.

Te Taumata and Callaghan Innovation hope to not only open new markets for Māori-led tech businesses but also to inspire young wāhine Māori to pursue careers in innovation, sciences, technology, and research and development.

“The commitment Te Taumata has to supporting wāhine Māori in tech is exemplified through this knowledge exchange,” says fellow Te Taumata trustee Teresa Te Pania-Ashton.

“We are not just promoting trade opportunities; we’re sharing our values and approaches toward advancing Māori economic and wellbeing aspirations.”

The knowledge exchange is supported by key government organisations, including Callaghan, NZTE and MFAT, as well as iwi and Māori business networks.

“This approach highlights the transformative power of collaboration,” says Manu.


Te Taumata is inviting applications for the June 2024 knowledge exchange from wāhine Māori in tech, who either:

° Are trading in the UK and European markets and wish to increase the value of their exports;

° Trading globally and wish to expand to the UK and European markets; or

° Emerging tech leaders and entrepreneurs who are trade ready but not yet export enabled.

Applications close at 5pm on Friday, 26 April 2024.

Further details and application forms are available here.