BlinkPay article

Enabling connectivity for less, and in an unapologetically Māori way

This article was published on May 19, 2024, 9:00 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

Kia hiwa rā! Kia hiwa rā! 

The NZ Hi-Tech Awards finalists have been named, and we are incredibly proud of the trails they are blazing!

What's in this article

    In partnership with Poutama Trust, Callaghan Innovation is proud to once again sponsor the NZ Hi-Tech Kamupene Māori o te Tau – the Māori Company of the Year award. 

    Congratulations to finalists Blink Pay Global, Envico Technologies, and Kry10. All unique in their own way, and all making strides as Māori innovators to help make the world a better place.

    Have you heard of the Māori-owned fintech that has secured API agreements with three of Aotearoa's biggest banks? That has a te reo Māori payment gateway for its users, and that is striving to create and embed a financial services company that's unapologetically Māori? 

    If you have, you’ll have heard of BlinkPay Global. 

    BlinkPay is a Māori-owned and operated fintech that has secured API (Application Programming Interface) agreements with three of the biggest banks in Aotearoa. Its payment gateway offers a safer, faster way for New Zealanders to pay online, without needing to use a credit or debit card. The gateway also pre-populates particulars for all transactions, allowing banks and vendors to match payments to customers. 

    BlinkPay’s chief product officer and co-founder Adrian Smith (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) says with New Zealand's open banking implementation deadline for the big four banks approaching on 30 May, BlinkPay is ahead of the curve with these agreements, which stand to benefit 85 to 90 per cent of all banked New Zealanders.   

    We enable secure connectivity, at a fraction of the cost,

    says Smith.

    It was a conversation with his late BlinkPay co-founder Daniel Karehana a few years ago that started Smith on a journey to improve financial pathways and banking for all New Zealanders, and particularly Māori, that he remains passionate about.  

    BlinkPay’s payment gateway offers a te reo Māori option for all users, which is activated automatically if a user has te reo Māori selected as their preferred language on desktop or mobile. 

    Eventually, BlinkPay plans to build a new style of lending using modern APIs that leverage iwi, hapū and relationships within whānau Māori (Māori extended families), to offer loans that enable Māori to lean on their connections to secure the necessary capital.

    “It would give our people a chance to start creating wealth and closing the inequality gap,” says Smith.  

    “We are in year three of our seven-year plan, so we still have a bit of time to go, but we're on the way. The goal is to create and embed a financial services company that's unapologetically Māori.”  

    Having spent 14 years working in banks overseas, Smith has a first-hand understanding of the staying power of good ideas.  

    "One of the most popular instruments to pay with across the motu (country) today is a credit card and it was invented in 1966,” says Smith.  

    “Our whakaaro (thought) is if we can build a financial service or capability or instrument embedded in the system, it's going to stick around.” 

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