Maori food website idea wins business contest

University of Otago students (from left) Sarahmarie Innes (22), Summuh Collier-Morete (20), Mariana Pou (24) and recent graduate Max Wolfgram (21) show off their awards for winning a Maori entrepreneurial competition. Inset: Janine Kapa-Blair. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
University of Otago students (from left) Sarahmarie Innes (22), Summuh Collier-Morete (20), Mariana Pou (24) and recent graduate Max Wolfgram (21) show off their awards for winning a Maori entrepreneurial competition. Inset: Janine Kapa-Blair. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A website for promoting traditional Maori food was chosen as the best concept in a Maori business competition for University of Otago students.

The student enterprise programme, which began with an overnight stay on Puketeraki marae last month, finished with a Dragons' Den-style finale this week, where the three teams were asked to pitch their ideas.

In the end, a group which came up with the idea of a website for promoting traditional food producers and providing information about how to prepare and cultivate the food was chosen as the winner.

Group member Sarahmarie Innes said the idea was to give information about the ''full experience'' of traditional Maori food.

The team was ''blown away'' to be chosen, especially given the quality of the competition.

''I am very humbled actually, because I thought the other groups were amazing. I was really digging for them,'' Ms Innes said.

Otago Business School associate Maori dean Janine Kapa-Blair said the programme - called He Kakano in Maori - gave the students valuable experience.

''He Kakano is an exciting, innovative programme which promotes kaupapa Maori business values to its participants, which can then be applied in further study or potential businesses going forward,'' she said.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz