Who we are

Ko wai matou
Who are we?

Founded in 1996, Te Awe Wellington Māori Business Network remains a leading force in empowering Māori business success. We stand by our inclusive approach, welcoming individuals, businesses, and organisations passionate about supporting Māori entrepreneurs in their journeys.

Led by a passionate volunteer committee, Te Awe operates as a registered Incorporated Society, fostering a diverse and thriving network. Our members range from ambitious startups to established corporate entities, all united by a shared interest in propelling Māori business forward.

Beyond membership limitations, we offer Associate Membership options for non-Māori individuals who wish to participate and contribute to our vibrant community.


"Our diverse membership base ranges from small to medium-sized businesses to large corporate companies, showcasing our commitment to fostering a broad spectrum of Māori business interests."

Te Awe's core mission remains promoting, assisting, and encouraging Māori entrepreneurship.
Through regular networking hui, we create spaces for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and mutual support. These gatherings facilitate sharing of success stories, addressing challenges, and fostering a resilient and connected Māori business ecosystem in the ever-evolving landscape of 2024. 

Management Committee

The current management committee members are;

Tiamana - Te Rau Kupenga

Te Rau Kupenga, a lawyer with a rich career, started by working for his iwi, Ngāti Porou. He helped research and present evidence for claims related to the Waitangi Treaty, learning from elders before gaining his extensive legal knowledge at a top law firm, Meredith Connell.

After leaving, his career took many turns. He worked at the Māori Trustee, a legal firm specialising in commercial disputes, and even managed the Ngāti Porou Treaty settlement process. He even brought his skills to TV, presenting on Māori Television and TVNZ.

A noteable achievement for Kupenga was being the first Māori to join the Broadcasting Standards Authority board in its 21-year history. Today, he uses his experience as a consultant, offering valuable advice to both private and public organisations.


Tiamana Tuarua - Paul Retimanu

Paul Retimanu, a successful businessman, started as a welder and later moved into office work. Entering the hospitality industry in Christchurch, he quickly climbed the ladder, becoming a Catering Manager at a young age.

In 1998, he started his own catering business, which blossomed into Manaaki Management, a company managing venues like function centers and cafes. He is also a dedicated father of seven and actively supports Māori and Pacific businesses through various board positions.


Trustee - Wayne Johnston

Wayne Johnston joined Te Awe's Membership Committee in 2013 to boost sponsorships and memberships. He brings extensive experience from his corporate career, having served as Vice President of Sales for Goodyear Dunlop in Australia.

Beyond work, Wayne prioritises his family as a dedicated father and grandfather. Since 2008, he's managed three successful family-owned businesses. He also stays involved in the community by supporting initiatives like the Vulnerable Support Charitable Trust, which helps young people in Wellington.

Though no longer Chairman, Wayne remains a Te Awe Trustee in recognition of his valuable contributions. His experience and dedication make him a valuable asset to the organisation.


Trustee - Nehe Milner-Skudder

Hailing from Palmerston North, Nehe Milner-Skudder is a celebrated rugby player known for his impressive skills on the field. He's played for the Wellington Lions and Hurricanes, shining on the national stage for the All Blacks during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. His speed and agility helped them secure victory, solidifying his place in New Zealand rugby history.

Beyond rugby, Nehe is dedicated to his community, supporting initiatives that empower Māori businesses. Recognizing the need for economic growth within this group, he actively promotes entrepreneurship and creates opportunities for sustainable development.


Trustee - Chad Johnston

Starting as a builder, Chad found his calling in hospitality by chance, working as a Food & Beverage Attendant in Perth. This unexpected passion led him to pursue an incredibly successful career at Rydges Hotels.

He worked across various departments, gaining experience in different areas. In 2011, an opportunity brought him back to Wellington as the General Manager of Rydges Wellington Airport, overseeing the hotel's opening and success. Chad is dedicated to helping his team thrive in the dynamic world of hospitality.


Trustee - Paul Eagle

Tahere Paul Eagle, a prominent New Zealand politician, represented the Rongotai electorate from 2017 to 2023. Before entering politics, he served as Wellington City Councillor and Deputy Mayor, marking a first for Māori in the city.

Adopted into a socially progressive family, Eagle developed strong political awareness and actively opposed the Springbok tour in his youth. He studied at various institutions, including the University of Auckland, and later became the first MP to transition to a local government CEO role. He currently resides in Wellington & Wharekauri with his wife and son, actively embracing his Waikato-Tainui heritage.


Trustee - Jamie Williams

Bio to follow


Trustee - Anita Murdoch

Anita is an Entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in the Recruitment Industry in New Zealand.  Anita and her team are successfully sourcing and placing talent in the Corporate Services space across private, public and the NGO sectors.

Of Waikato-Tainui and Kahungunu descent, Anita is committed to supporting Maori business to thrive in the Wellington community and other regions across the country.

Supporting our Rangatahi is a key driver for Anita and she currently sits on the Star Boating Club Preservation Trust Board which supports the sport of rowing in our beautiful harbour city.  Passionate about people, Anita is excited to apply her business experience, contacts and knowledge to support the growth of Te Awe in the Wellington region.  He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata


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