Hi Tech Awards to recognise Māori achievement

Māori achievement is to be celebrated at the Hi-Tech Awards in Auckland next Friday.

Three companies - Blink Pay Global, Envico Technologies and KRY10 - are finalists for Hi-Tech Kamupene Māori o te Tau – Māori Company of the Year, while tech expert Elle Archer (Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tūhoe) is a finalist for Hi-Tech Inspiring Individual at the awards to be held at Spark Arena, with more than 1300 in the audience.

Māori fintech company Blink Pay Global is leading the way in “open banking” in Aotearoa, a framework that allows for secure payments and sharing of financial information with third parties, providing customers with greater control.

“The implementation of open banking in New Zealand gives Kiwis access to more secure, faster forms of payment,” BlinkPay co-founder Adrian Smith (Ngāpuhi) said earlier this month, when announcing a partnership with ASB Bank.

“Our products allow Kiwis a straightforward and secure way to pay directly from their bank accounts without needing to input card details at the online checkout,”

Envico Technologies is pioneering specialist drones and automated systems for conservation and biosecurity, including the use of drone technology to distribute seed planting and pest control to protect native species.

“Envico Technologies is looking to make conservation easy. We’re trying to do that by making cost-effective, scalable tools that people can use to control pests in forests and regrow forests at an accelerated rate,” co-founder and CEO Cameron Baker told Callaghan Innovation last year.

KRY10 is a software company that makes “connected devices” secure from cyberattacks, more resilient and easier to manage.

“We believe Kry10 is special in providing a level of trust that mitigates a lot of common security vulnerabilities and anticipate broad applications for the technology across automotive, industrial control systems, telecommunications, and spacecraft,” Nat Puffer, the managing director for US venture capital firm IQT International, told NZME earlier this year.

KRY10′s chief operating officer, Lovina McMurchy (Ngāti Rongomai), is based in Seattle and has held senior roles with Amazon and Microsoft in the US.

Inspiring Individual finalist Elle Archer has created tech opportunities and pathways by combining cultural heritage and passion for science both in Aotearoa and globally.

Archer is the chair of Te Ao Matihiko, a collective of Māori organisations that aims to foster Māori excellence in the technology sector, with a vision to have te ao Māori interwoven within the digital realm.

Archer told Te Ao Māori News in December that there are many Māori doing great things in the industry but more were needed.

“We’ve got Māori in NASA doing some amazing mahi, we’ve got Māori who are doing the digitisation of their pūrākau for their hapū and iwi.”

To be considered for the Hi-Tech Kamupene Māori o te Tau award eligible companies - founded and headquartered in New Zealand, with at least 20% of employees residing here - must establish a “strong identity as a Māori technology company” - with at least 50% Māori ownership, a single largest Māori shareholder, or satisfy judges they qualify as a Māori entity through factors including shareholding, iwi, team and vision.