Speakers at Matariki XPonential 2017

We have a great line-up of speakers confirmed for Matariki XPonential 2017.

Frances Valintine

Frances Valintine

Frances is the founder of the very successful Mindlab and Tech Futures Lab, which empowers students, teachers and business leaders into the technology future.  
This year, Frances was named as one of the top three NZ Innovators of the Year, a winner of the Flying Kiwi Award, inducted into the Hi-Tech Hall of Fame.  Frances has also been named as one of the top 50 EdTech Educators in the World, and awarded a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award.  

Frances is a Callaghan Innovation board member. 

Read more about Frances and her innovation success: Frances Valintine: Learnings from a tech innovator.

Mavis Mullins

Mavis Mullins

Mavis is the Patron of Agri-Women’s Development Trust, facilitating rural women in their personal leadership development; and chair of Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā, resetting the dial for her people.  

Mavis holds many directorships and business interests, including as Chair of Te Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation and Poutama Trust.

This year has been huge for Mavis, she was the Supreme Winner at the 2017 Māori Business Awards, will be inducted into the NZ Business Hall of Fame and was presented with a prestigious Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award.

Read more about Mavis and her work:

Mavis Mullins to be inducted into New Zealand Business Hall of Fame

Mavis Mullins - People are our most precious resource

Cliff Curtis

Cliff Curtis 

Cliff is one of, if not, the most successful New Zealand actors, with a career including well-known movies such as Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider, Boy and Dark Horse.  Cliff’s most notable career highlights include the US TV hit, the Walking Dead, and most recently being named to star in the Avatar Sequels.

Rotorua born and bred, Cliff is also a film producer, with production company Whenua Films, which drives innovation in technology platforms in the entertainment industry.

Cliff won the inaugural 2016 Māori Television Matariki supreme award.

Read more about Cliff’s career highlights: Cliff Curtis says filming in NZ will be best part of Avatar role

Blanche Murray

Blanche Murray

Blanche is the Managing Director of Kai Ora Honey, a successful business exporting internationally to Asia, the UAE and Europe.  

She manages the operation with her whānau, who use innovative platforms to achieve health, social, economic and environmental outcomes for all Māori, particularly the people of Te Taitokerau. 

Blanche has also held many positions in management, bank institutions, international sales and marketing, and this year saw Blanche take out the Young Māori Business Leader Award at the Aotearoa Māori Business Awards. 

Read more about Blanche and her business success: Northland iwi turns family pastime into multimillion dollar Manuka honey operation

Jason Witehira

Jason Witehira

Jason is the proud owner/operator of Auckland’s Victoria Park New World, one of the country’s most successful supermarkets. 

Jason holds a number of directorships, including Ngāpuhi Asset Holdings Company Ltd, the Foodbowl Innovation Board, and is a proud member of Callaghan Innovation’s Nuku ki te Puku Māori Food Cluster.  Jason also uses his skills and experience to provide management mentorship to others in the industry. 

Testament to his success, Jason won the prestigious Aotearoa Māori Business Leader of the Year Award in 2016.

See Jason in action at last year’s MatarikiX, and read more about his inspirational story:

Witehira wins Māori Business leader award

New World Victoria Park owner hopes his win will inspire others

Rachel Taulelei

Rachel Taulelei

Founder of sustainable seafood company Yellow Brick Road, Rachel is now Chief Executive of Kono, one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful export companies.  

Her many directorships include Moana NZ, Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, New Zealand Wine Growers, Headwaters New Zealand, and the Young Enterprise Trust. 

In 2012, Rachel was the recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, a board upon which she now sits, and more recently was honored with a New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality.  

Rachel is of Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Koata descent. 

Read more about Rachel and her career:

Kono CEO to co-lead delegation during trade mission to Japan

Wahine Toa: Rachel Taulelei

Ian Taylor

Ian Taylor 

Ian is the founder of the internationally-renowned Dunedin based Animation Research Limited, a leader in sports innovation which has transformed televised sport around the globe.

The work of Ian and his team has encompassed everything from air traffic control simulation, whale-watching, to tourism software, including assisting our winning America’s Cup team, Emirates Team New Zealand, by developing their on-board virtual reality camera.

Among his many accolades, Ian has been inducted into the New Zealand Hi-Tech Hall of Fame, is a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and has won awards at the World Class New Zealand Awards.

See Ian in action at last year’s MatarikiX, and read more about his use of technology innovation:

Ian Taylor - World class New Zealander 

Native Affairs - Ian Taylor showing off innovation

Grant Straker

Grant Straker

From high-school dropout to chief executive, Grant has reinvented the $40 billion translation industry. 

Straker Translations has an army of some 40,000 translators around the world, and an estimated annual turnover of $20-$30 million. Grant sees further opportunities for growth, with plans to go public next year, and has recently acquired two new businesses.

Grant, and Straker Translations has won many awards including the 2016 International Business Award for Excellence in Innovation, and the NZ Hi Tech Award for Innovative Service Award Product.

Read more about Grant’s business success: 

Paratrooper CEO aiming high

Grant Straker - Fortune favours the brave

Lance O'Sullivan

Dr Lance O’Sullivan

Lance is an accomplished author, speaker, disruptive leader and innovator, and his passion for Māori health has seen him champion for equal health care in both his community, and New Zealand.

Now ensconced in the Far North, Lance has established Navilluso Medical, a healthcare company committed to developing innovative ways to ensure appropriate and quality health care reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
Lance was named New Zealander of the Year, and voted the second ‘most trusted’ Kiwi in a Readers Digest Poll. 

Read more about Lance and his journey: 

How Lance O'Sullivan turned his life around

Northland Dr Lance O'Sullivan is a conscientious public health campaigner

The Moko Foundation

These inspiring 'new and emerging' entrepreneurs will also be speaking at Matariki XPonential

Jade Temepara

Jade Temepara – Kākano Café & Cookery School
Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa

Jade Temepara is the visionary behind Kākano Café and Cookery School, having brought the project to life to create a vibrant and evolving natural world to share with all her manuhiri. Kākano promotes healthy organic living and traditional Māori foods, and is based around 240 square metres of organically grown food gardens, that are a focal point of its community activities.

In 2010, Jade started an initiative “Hand over a Hundy”, encouraging whānau to feed themselves and their children fresh, healthy, chemical-free food. Hand Over a Hundy is now in various locations around Aotearoa and continues to be a sought-after resource in many communities.

More info about Jade and Kākano Café & Cookery School can be found here:

Tane and Clare Bradley

Tane & Clare Bradley – AgriSea NZ 
Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto

AgriSea NZ Seaweed Ltd is an award winning sustainable New Zealand company, specialising in the manufacture of macro-algae concentrates and bioactive extractions to add high value nutrition for soil, plant, animal and human health. 

Based in Paeroa, AgriSea supplies to the horticulture, agriculture, apiculture, viticulture and dairy sectors, both domestically and to a developing export market.

General Manager, Tane Bradley, and Research Co-ordinator, Clare Bradley, are responsible for the day-to-day running of this 20-year old family-owned and operated business.  

Tane and Clare joined the recent Callaghan Innovation and Plant and Food Research’s Kai Rawa Māori Food & Beverage delegation to San Francisco, and Las Vegas, to look at the latest trends, technology and innovation in the F&B sector.

Tupaea Rolleston

Tupaea Rolleston – Tarnix Security 
Ngati Whakaue, Ngaiterangi and Ngati Ranginui

Tupaea Rolleston is a young man on a mission!  At the age of 18, he became the owner and CEO of Tarnix Security, and now at the age of 23, has a staff of 24.  

Tarnix Security are Bay of Plenty's leading provider of smart technology and efficient security solutions. With over 700 clients throughout New Zealand, Tupaea’s commitment to delivering the highest quality security technologies, services and safety, has seen the company grow from strength to strength since it was founded in 2011.

Read more about Tarnix

Miriana Lowrie

Miriana Lowrie – 1Centre
Ngā Rauru & Te Atiawa 

Miriana Lowrie is the Founder & CEO of 1Centre, a Software as a Service (SaaS) technology company that digitises and streamlines trade credit account processes. 

1Centre allows users to view a Trade Credit Application going through the approval process from start to finish, and online, in real time.

The business was created after two years of Miriana interviewing suppliers and business consumers, about their experiences opening trade accounts, which appeared to be “laboriously manual, repetitive and time consuming”.  As a result, Miriana’s commitment to making life easier for businesses lead to the development of a digital application that can be completed once, then pre-filled for every other trade account thereafter.  

1Centre was selected as one of six technology companies to join The IceHouse Flux Accelerator programme, and was also recently selected by Vodafone xone as one of the technology startups for its 6 month accelerator programme (watch a video of 1Centre's pitch). 

Read more about 1Centre and Miriana’s journey below:

Find out more

Updated: 2 June 2022