New Zealand magazine, Stuff has a great piece on tech entrepreneur Kaye-Maree Dunn. Dunn. Dunn is a force of nature and has accomplished so many things in New Zealand’s tech space. She has worked to advance Maori digital identity and banking. She is very passionate about developing systems and approaches that will integrate Kaupapa Maori and Indigenous principles into digital banking. In this piece, Stuff discusses her work in highlighting the successes of Māori businesses.
She is the managing director of Making Everything Achievable (MEA), a venture she refers to as an intentional social design company. She founded this venture with her brother 11 years ago. She uses business management, coaching, community development, facilitation, and technology and her passion for kaupapa Māori and Indigenous principles to search out ways to achieve systemic change. At root, Dunn’s work is about creating scalable models to empower the indigenous people of New Zealand.
The acronym, MEA, is also a reference to the te reo Māori word for “thing.” This is because she felt that indigenous people should do their own thing, and bring together their different philosophies, and craft long-term, dynamic solutions for the challenges they face.
Dyunn has successfully won contracts and undertaken projects that have led to the development of tools that effectively use Whānau Ora facilitation, Māori home construction, Māori land, and homeownership, and Māori tourism.
Thanks to her mentors, Drs Ranginui Walker and Linda Tuhiwai-Smith, she has come to understand the vital role that innovation can play in the lives of the Māori.
Mentors are significant in the development of a person. Dunnis no exception in this regard. From her mentors, she has learned a great deal about Māori leadership principles and government and the role of ventures such as the ones she has formed in bringing about change.
When she visited the Māori Women’s Development Incorporation (MWDI), she learned so much about finances and business that she could see her future more clearly. The MWDI taught her that she could pursue business according to te ao Māori principles. This made her feel like she could be a citizen of the world without abandoning her identity. There was no false choice between modernity and her culture.
During the pandemic, Dunn and her team have supported Te Kahu o Taonui, the northern collective of iwi chairs. This collective exists to bring together the north of iwi’s chiefs, share ideas and communal concerns, and use their collective power to create opportunities for their communities. She helped the collective by developing digital platforms that matched communities in need with food and care packages that were then delivered to them. As we warm up by our fires, fueled by kiln-dried firewood from Burn The Wood, it’s important to remember that our actions can be a force for good in the world.
Her work shows that individuals and small organizations can play a big role in transforming societies and helping marginalized groups thrive. She has been a great inspiration to many people in New Zealand.