Hana-Te Kowhai’s journey

Our very own Hana Te Kowhai Treadway-Ohia was chosen as the student speaker at graduation on Friday the 27th of April. A past student of Ngā Taiātea Wharekura, Hana is a humble, hard working wahine Māori who was a regular at our hui and events. Her presence is missed by the Te Toi o Matariki team, we are lucky enough to have been a part of this haerenga with her. We wish Hana all the best and know that the adventures have just begun. Hana Te Kowhai shares her story with us.     

I was in my final year of my bachelor degree when I took a paper in sustainability. The idea of businesses operating for more than just profit was an area that I had always found interesting. I came to the end of my degree and I had two options, try and find a job in the area I studied or explore this area of interest further in the hope of pursuing a career with a sustainability focus. I chose the latter.

I decided to research sustainability practices in Māori businesses and looked specifically at the key influences in how Māori businesses approach sustainability. It was clear that businesses with Māori values are inherently practicing sustainability. A key finding of this research is that the social, environmental, and economic aspects of a business were approached with a cultural lens where their cultural beliefs and values influenced their business activities. Additionally, unlike many other businesses, these organisations were driven by creating opportunities to support whānau rather than the financial benefits of sustainability practices.

My master’s journey was, interesting. There were moments where the process wasn’t clear, where I would put my studies on hold (for months) and convinced myself that I was getting a Masters of Procrastination. With the help of the tools provided by Te Toi o Matariki, the journey started to make sense and the end became clearer. I took advantage of the study days and the writing retreats on offer and these opportunities are where a big chunk of my thinking and writing was done. I met people who had been through the same journey and people who are currently on the journey alongside me, conversations with people who knew exactly what I was going through helped me keep my sanity. I learnt skills that allowed me to elevate the standard of my mahi, it was just a bonus that there was always kai.

The master’s journey is known for being a lonely journey but Te Toi o Matariki ensured that didn’t have to be the case for us. I am thankful to Kahurangi and our tuakana (Pita, Truely, Erana) for ensuring that I was well supported academically, socially, spiritually and physically during this journey.

I have now started a new role as a Management Consulting Analyst with PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) based in Wellington. I hope to one day work as a consultant who specialises in sustainable business practices.