Growing the next generation of Māori and Pasifika business leaders




Strong and resilient Māori and Pasifika business leaders growing a better 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.



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.  


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 in this area
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 programme which creates pathways for Māori and Pasifika tertiary students into corporate careers and which provides early-career support for young Māori and Pasifika. 


The programme has two strands:


  • an internship strand, which students enter in their first or second year of tertiary studies and complete two or three annual placements before graduating;  and

  • an emerging leaders strand, which graduates from the internship strand (and a limited number of other young Māori and Pasifika) participate in for the first two or three years of their careers.

The programme:


  • teaches participants to embrace their culture and to enjoy the benefits and advantages it gives them in the world of work;

  • equips participants to succeed in the corporate sector by providing them with a range of tools and skills to ensure their success;

  • provides participants with training and development to prepare them for wider leadership responsibilities in their family and community settings;  and

  • creates an environment of sustained support to enable participants to fulfil their career aspirations and to become business and community leaders.

Over time, the programme will produce a powerful, national network of Māori and Pasifika business leaders who excel in their careers, who demonstrate deep-seated cultural intelligence, and who are strongly connected to their cultures and their communities.


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




By 2020, TupuToa will: 
  • be providing support annually to almost 300 Māori and Pasifika interns and 320 emerging leaders annually;

  • be operating throughout the North Island, with South Island expansion in 2021/22;

  • have achieved at least 85% conversion from intern to graduate employment;

  • have achieved a significant increase in the number of Māori and Pasifika graduates hired, retained and developed by our sponsors;

  • be operating a significant network of Māori and Pasifika business people, both senior and emerging talent; and

  • have a sustainable funding base provided by at least five principal and major sponsors and over 50 scholarship partners.





604 Great South Road, Greenlane, Auckland NZ
© Copyright 2017 TupuToa. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • instagram-new-flat
  • Facebook Social Icon