The main projects for Aotahi in 2018 include:


Management of Business and Personal Finance Programmes

Aotahi has held contracts with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWoA) to assist in the management of their business programmes since the company was founded in 2004. For two years prior to this, the directors completed programme management contracts under another entity, Kawau Limited. Aotahi has been responsible for managing over 2,500 EFTS (equivalent full-time students) per year for the great majority of this time.

As the programmes managed by Aotahi are taught by independent contractors, a large component of this work involves managing relationships between the organisation and the contractors. Examples of other tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Contract development for kaiako (teachers).
  • Recruitment and induction of kaiako.
  • Assistance in developing and monitoring nationwide rollout plans.
  • Marketing support.
  • Monitoring of delivery to ensure completion rates are achieved.
  • Support in the areas of operations, academic policy, and problem resolution.




Development of Business and Personal Finance Programmes


Aotahi is currently contracted to develop the learning materials for two tertiary education programmes owned by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and has recently completed the learning materials for two more of the organisation’s programmes. The company has been involved throughout the entire development process for these four programmes, which began in 2015. This has included conducting market research and stakeholder consultation, and preparing the programme curriculum document for internal approval by TWoA and external approval by NZQA.

The resources being developed vary for programme to programme, but typically include:

  • a series of professionally designed magazines containing the core programme material;
  • lesson plan and activity workbooks;
  • assessments;
  • teaching presentations;
  • programme guides for contractors (the kaiako contracted to teach the programmes); and
  • information booklets for tauira (students).

Other materials include case studies of Māori businesses, seminar handouts, and glossaries of terms for NZQA Level 3 programmes.

The four programmes are as follows:


  • Smart Steps to Business (SSB) – Level 3

Smart Steps to Business (SSB) is a 60 credit programme developed to meet the requirements of the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Small Business) – Level 3. It was delivered nationwide for the first time in Semester B, 2017.

Targeted to meet the needs of people going into business, this programme covers areas such as identification of business opportunities; feasibility and viability analysis; development of a business establishment plan; business and product testing; marketing; and pitching a business opportunity to stakeholders.


  • Certificate in Money Management (CMM) – Level 3

This programme was developed to replace the current CMM programme, originally developed by Aotahi in 2009, in order for TWoA to have a programme which aligns with the new NZQA qualification framework. Graduates of the new CMM will receive the New Zealand Certificate in Personal Financial Capability and Financial Services – Level 3.

The ability to manage money is an essential life skill for all New Zealanders. This programme aims to develop this skill so as to assist people to make rational financial decisions that enable them to reach their goals in life. Suitable for people of all income and wealth levels, topics covered include financial goal setting; debt management; budgeting; home ownership; property investment; retirement planning; other investment options; and wealth protection.


  • Certificate in Small Business and Project Management (CSBM) – Level 4

This programme is being developed to replace the current CSBM programme which was been offered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa since 2002. Originally developed by members of Aotahi, this 120 credit programme is one of the organisation’s largest programmes in terms of equivalent full time students each year. The new programme will align with two qualifications on the NZQA framework: the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business) – Level 4, and the New Zealand Certificate in Project Management – Level 4.

This CSBM is designed to meet the needs of new and existing business owners. It covers all areas of running a business including (for example) industry analysis, marketing, operations and technology, human resources, and financial management. However, its main point of difference from other business management programmes is its project management focus. Tauira learn project management concepts and apply techniques to several areas of management, including market research and the development of a comprehensive business plan for their own business (or business idea).


  • Diploma in Small Business and Project Management (DSBM) – Level 5

The DSBM is a level 5 programme designed for existing business owners who are ready to grow or improve their business. It is a 120 credit programme, which is being developed to replace the 90 credit Certificate in Applied Small Business Growth and Development (CABG) programme which has been offered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa since 2009 (and was also developed by Aotahi).

The new programme meets the requirements of the New Zealand Diploma in Business (strand in Project Management) – Level 5. Throughout the programme, tauira apply project management techniques to the design and implementation of three business development projects within their own business.




Team Leader of Innovation – Wakatū Incorporation


Contracting through Aotahi, Miriana Stephens has an executive director’s role with Wakatū Incorporation (Wakatū) as their Team Leader of Innovation. Based in Nelson, Wakatū has approximately 4,000 shareholders who descend from the original Māori landowners of the Nelson, Tasman, and Golden Bay Regions. Whenua is the foundation of Wakatū, with 70% of its assets held in land and water. Kono NZ LP (Kono) is the food and beverage business of Wakatū. Kono specialises across all aspects of its operations in farming, harvesting, processing and marketing seafood, wine, cider, apples, pears, kiwifruit, hops, and natural fruit bars with export partners across the world.

To Wakatū, innovation means doing things better and doing better things. Wakatū has recently approved their innovation strategy with the goal of commercialising high value science, food, and beverage solutions to address global nutrition, health, and well-being challenges.


This will be achieved by:

  • Living and breathing Te Pae Tawhiti (the 500-year intergenerational vision of Wakatū) and ensuring alignment with the group strategic goals;
  • Lifting productivity and performance, and improving allocation, of the resources of Wakatū;
  • Creating appropriate business models which attract investment;
  • Developing a portfolio of brands, products, systems, and IP;
  • Engaging in relevant business development and research opportunities with strategic partners;
  • Acknowledging and utilising traditional knowledge and practices, science, and technology; and
  • Creating shared sustainable relationships and value for owners, employees, partners, community, and the consumer.


The current focus is on the work programmes in the following three areas:

  • Land and water wellness.
  • Opportunities with high added-value.
  • The development of a regional connected technology hub.