We grow Māori & Pacific leaders for a greater Aotearoa, New Zealand. 


Ka tupu te moko taro me aravei i te vai ora.
Young taro shoots will grow if they meet lifegiving water. 


‘Tupu’ is all about flourishing, thriving and growing into who you were meant to be given the best conditions.


The concept of ‘tupu’ links us, as humans, to other elements in the natural system which grow and which require lifegiving conditions. Metaphorically, ‘tupu’ connects us to our ancestors (tupuna), parents and children, in the sense that we are all sprouts from a particular family tree, connected both biologically and by association to that which we have grown from. It also connects us to a much greater vine, that of all life, which extends in some Pacific narratives from the roots into the heavens. Thus, the concept of ‘tupu’ enables us to think developmentally about our origins, our roots and our growth.


Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.
My strength is not that of a single warrior, but that of many. 


‘Toa’ means courage or courageous, and is also the name of the
strongest tree found in the Pacific, casuarina equisetifolia, the
ironwood tree.


This tree was used to make weapons, clubs, spears and sticks for warfare and for protection. ‘Toa’ is also the name used for a warrior or a hero, and refers to bravery, boldness, courage and being warrior-like. Some of the English translations of ‘toa’ as it is used throughout the Pacific are: courage; courageous; brave; to act bravely; victorious; warrior; the rooster; the ironwood tree; to be strong; valiant; to make an effort; to be industrious; active; bold; daring; successful; soldier; army.



We aspire for our nation to have a nimble, strengths-based economy which meets the needs of culturally and ethnically diverse markets, both here and overseas. 


Strong and resilient Māori and Pacific leaders growing a greater Aotearoa, New Zealand.

We aspire for our nation to have a nimble, strengths-based economy which meets the needs of culturally and ethnically diverse markets, both here and overseas.  It will comprise a super city underpinned by strong regions and a dynamic Māori economy, powered by a new generation of leaders who are culturally intelligent, innovative, creative and internationally connected.


Manaaki tauira
Student centric

Our students are at the core of our programme

Kia ū ki te tikanga-ā-iwi
Culturally driven 

We are driven and guided by the Māori and Pasifika communities we serve

Mahi ngātahi

We work in partnership with businesses, tertiary institutions and Māori and Pasifika communities, as well as building wider strategic alliances

Kia mana ai ki ngā mahi

We are an honest and purpose-led organisation with integrity


TupuToa’s research shows that only 17% of New Zealand’s top 60 firms have an executive who identifies as other than European/Pākehā.

Although Māori and Pasifika comprise around 22% of the general population (a figure which is projected to rise to 30% by 2033), they are conspicuous by their absence from the leadership of corporate New Zealand.  


No NZX listed company has a Māori or Pasifika CEO. This lopsided demographic creates a knowledge gap, deprives businesses of the well-established benefits of diversity, and inhibits business growth.  Our future economic and social prosperity requires the development of a new generation of Māori and Pasifika business leaders who are able to recognize and seize opportunities in increasingly diverse markets, both nationally and internationally.


There are some formidable obstacles to change
Tertiary performance

The number of Māori and Pasifika students completing tertiary studies compares unfavourably with other student groups. Prospective employers struggle to find Māori and Pasifika students whose grades enable them to compete for graduate placements.

Entering the corporate world

Māori & Pasifika students are hampered by a lack of connection and understanding of the corporate sector, while prospective employers may struggle with limited cultural understanding and unconscious bias

Succeeding in the corporate world

Needing to find an inclusive culture that values diversity and allows them to work with cultural integrity, young Māori and Pasifika all too often encounter the opposite.  Employers wonder why their efforts to attract and retain Māori and Pasifika staff are chronically unsuccessful.


Tupu Toa is an innovative investment partnership between partner organisations, interns, tertiary institutions, whānau and Māori and Pasifika communities. It is facilitating a future corporate landscape that will embrace:
Māori Communities

Grow talent from within to build business and community growth and increase the prosperity of the Māori community overall

Pasifika Communities

Achieve greater equality of outcomes for Pacific people and build social and economic prosperity


Achieve full career and community leadership potential consistent with their identity and values


Increased access to diversity of talent and experience, deeper insights into an evolving marketplace and closer connection to Māori and Pasifika communities

Diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by 35% and diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the future world of work. By 2020 TupuToa will be providing support annually to almost 300 Maori and Pasifika interns and 300 emerging leaders, achieving a significant increase in the number of Maori and Pasifika graduates hired, retained and developed in their employment.


604 Great South Road, Greenlane, Auckland NZ
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