Puna Pakihi mentor advocates for Māori worldview in businesses

Apr 17, 2024

Former educator and principal Keri Milne-Ihimaera (Kāi Tahu) left Auckland three years ago to reconnect with her whakapapa in Bluff. Bringing with her a consultancy business deeply rooted in te ao Māori, Keri’s vision is reshaping organisational strategies and thinking, and benefitting Māori and the community.

“For the last 8 years, I have been running my own consultancy with a deliberate focus on bringing a wahine Māori perspective to organisational strategy and leadership,” Keri shares.

Recognising the power of a Māori worldview, Keri understands that it often serves as the missing component, elevating ideas, strategies, and training developments from good to exceptional. In te ao Māori, businesses are not solely driven by profit but by a balance of financial viability, as well as whānau, social and cultural aspirations.

In her consultancy practice, Keri uses a thoughtful checklist to guide her decision-making process. "First, I consider if the work is good for Māori. Second, I consider if the role is in a position of influence," she explains. For Keri, driving positive change is paramount, and she meticulously evaluates opportunities to ensure they align with her mission and values.

In mentoring whānau through Puna Pakihi, she encourages them to bring their authentic selves and the power of a Māori worldview.

“Being Māori is something to be celebrated and utilised. It could be a superpower. Don’t shy away from being a Māori in business and applying Māori business models,” she says.

Keri encourages whānau in business to focus their attention on things that are consistent with their own values. While profitability is a goal, she challenges her mentees to consider broader impacts and contributions to their communities. "How can we make contributions to our communities?" she prompts, facilitating a holistic approach to business.

As a business owner, Keri is mindful of the direct impact her work has on whānau, children and the next generation. Her commitment to uplifting her community is at the core of every decision she makes.

For Ngāi Tahu whānau with business aspirations, Puna Pakihi can help you make that leap of faith, navigate the landscape with confidence and pride with the support of business mentors like Keri.

For more information on Puna Pakihi, click here.