Oriwa Morgan-Ward is in her happy place. And Te Wānanga o Aotearoa helped her find it. “I have always desired to be where I am today,” she says. Where she is today, is in her typically cluttered artistic workspace in her hometown of Putaruru.And while she’s busy creating original art works, she’s also planning her business strategy. That mix of art and business are key planks of her long-term plan and areas where Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has helped Oriwa build her skills. “I want to be my own business and I want to be a Māori presence as an artist in Putaruru. So I’m stacking my skillset,” she says. And she is well on the way to achieving those objectives.
Oriwa finished the Maunga Kura Toi – Rauangi arts degree at Toimairangi in Hastings in 2016 and in 2017 completed a Diploma in Adult Education. Her education skills came in handy during an arts residency at Te Awamutu Museum, where she ran holiday programmes and art workshops for the community. She has now enrolled in Pakihi – a nationwide series of free business workshops and mentoring sessions being delivered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and business partners Crowe Horwath and Aotahi, backed by the Māori Innovation Fund – He kai kei aku ringa and managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.Pakihi was launched in July and more than 300 people have attended workshops which in Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Hamilton, Auckland, Nelson and Hastings.Oriwa took part in the Whakarautia – Getting Into Business workshop and says it was a fabulous experience.“It was exactly what I needed to help with my business concept of being a self-employed artist. For me, it was welcoming, it has tikanga included – which is important – and it is business with a Māori touch, coming from Māori business people themselves. It had a Māori point of view.”She says the programme has given her confidence that she’s on the right track.“For me, it’s the continuance of what I’m doing. The next step was to do something like that. We need programmes like Pakihi to provide us with pathways. Being self-employed is the hardest route to go down, it takes a lot of self-discipline so I’m still going to be learning, adding to my kete, building up my business, being self-sustaining and the having the mana of being a business owner,” she says. “The beautiful thing about this is that we’re reigniting that DNA that’s already in our whakapapa from our tūpuna, it’s not a new thing. We’re relearning the thinking of our people and I’m looking forward to continuing that journey.”Oriwa’s top tips for Māori in business:
- Learn to say no. Saying yes to every opportunity isn’t always the best choice. Learn to say yes to those things that align with your own kaupapa/agenda and lean back and allow the magic to happen.
- Take time out for yourself. Take time to be in your happy place, whether it be meditation, prayer, yoga, zumba or whānau time. Allowing time for yourself allows you to be of better service to others.
- Be passionate about what you do and the money will follow.
- Know your value and ask for what you deserve.