Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has launched Ahikōmako, the Centre of Māori Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Ahikōmako is an entrepreneurial whare (house) where Māori innovation and business ideas can seed and prosper.
Based at the Mangakōtukutuku campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Glenview, Hamilton, Ahikōmako provides a modern co-working space, business support, training, resources and business connections to help build sustainable business success.
Ahikōmako houses an innovation hub – Te Toiotua – a vibrant, creative space that uses modern technology from 3D printing and movie production to photography, robotics and augmented reality to further advance business ideas.
Ahikōmako will house exisiting programmes (kaupapa) such as Kōkiri, our Māori business accelerator programme, and Pakihi, a series of workshops and mentoring sessions designed for Māori business success.
Aisha Ross, director of the Innovation Development Group at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, said the Ahikōmako name was inspired by the ancient Māori legend when Māui tricked his ancestor Mahuika into sharing fire with him.
After realising Māui had deceived her, Mahuika set the world alight. The inferno was eventually doused but the remnants of fire remained in the kōmako tree.
“Our tupuna (ancestors) discovered they could make fire by rubbing pieces of kōmako together.”
“Fire evokes us to think, to be creative and to bring people together. We see Ahikōmako as playing a key part in building and growing sustainable Māori businesses for regional economic success.”
Ahikōmako is supported by foundation partners Waikato-Tainui, Te Humeka, Te Waka, and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism. Major funders for this new venture are the Provincial Growth Fund and Te Puni Kōkiri.