On 5th July 2018 Poutama quietly celebrated 30 years of helping to develop and grow Māori business.  This was followed up with a more exuberant celebration held at Te Puia, Rotorua on the 31st August.

Around 250 people attended the birthday bash and enjoyed each others company as well as experiencing a taste sensation through Food & Beverage from the Poutama Cuisine Cluster and the music from four different entertainers.  Overall it was a great event to celebrate a significant milestone for Poutama.

For 30 years Poutama has kept abreast of, anticipated and at times helped shape the changes that the Māori economy has gone through.  Throughout this time Poutama has always kept its kaupapa on being people focused and adheres strongly to the whakataukī – “He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata”…it’s people, people, people that drive our engine and are at the centre of everything Poutama does.

While people are at the centre of the Poutama Universe, this is backed up by a number of other elements that contribute to Poutama’s longevity and sustainability.

First of all those that work in Poutama – our whānau, are mostly long termers, three of our huge team of six are hitting 20 plus years!  Poutama is like the Hotel California…you can check out but you can never leave!!  But certainly having a long-term team engenders confidence, consistency and trust.  Many of the businesses Poutama deals with have been around just as long as us, many are integral to, and part of the Poutama extended whānau.

Because of the ever evolving Māori economy there is no room for complacency and while some may think being in an organisation a long time leads to staleness and complacency, that’s not so with Poutama.  The organisation demands and thrives on people having a growth mindset, being adaptable, exercising flexibility, making things up as you go along and adhering to the principle of ‘It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission’.  Sure we have plans and a strategy but like Mike Tyson said…”Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth”!!

Other elements that contribute to the Poutama style of operation include;

Independence & apolitical – As a Māori focused economic enabler, Poutama is a self-determining and self-funded organisation.  This gives us a wide degree of freedom in how we operate.  Decision-making is fast and opportunities are pounced upon and dealt to.  In doing so though, we have no hesitation in leveraging resources be they financial or otherwise from other sources.  No matter what the political environment, its policies and focus areas, Poutama’s apolitical stance just keeps going, we don’t stop for anything.  Whether it’s left, right or centre, it makes no difference and we adapt quickly if it’s to our advantage.

Technology & mobility – Technology helps extend Poutama’s reach throughout Aotearoa and to different parts of the Globe.  At any one time Poutama is working with businesses from Te Hiku o Te Ika to Murihiku from Tairawhiti to Te Tai Hauāuru.  We’re running projects in different parts of the country in fashion, exporting, dairy, regional development, hemp and solar energy to name but a few.  We’re mixing it up with businesses in Vietnam, USA, China, Brazil and the Netherlands.  All of this is possible through technology; it is what helps Poutama stay lean but offer a fat array of services.  Mobility helps us deliver a kanohi-ki-te-kanohi service, Poutama has had a mobile workforce working anywhere at anytime since the mid 90’s long before it came into fashion.  There is nothing like going into a business and seeing how it operates and talking with the owners about the opportunities and challenges they face.  Businesses love the fact that whenever possible we will come to them.

We know about business – The majority of the Poutama whanau including staff and board have been in business.  We’ve started a business, we’ve invested in a business, we’ve failed in a business and we’ve learnt!!  We’ve been in business in areas such as Film & TV, Sports Academies, Fishing, Exporting, F&B, Shearing and Child Care.  We walk in the shoes of business, we know the ups and downs that cash is king and cashflow is lifeblood.  We know about running a business on nothing, juggling debtors and creditors, having a business plan…or not.  We know that networks, connections and leverage are really important.  We bring all this to the Poutama mix of services when we work alongside a business.  If we don’t know it, we’ll find out.  We really love what we do!!

Adaptability – Of all the things they say you need around leadership and organisational development, adaptability is paramount.  Being adaptable enables Poutama to operate the way it does.  Being small also helps.  But adaptability is key, especially in a world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).  Adaptability partnered with a growth mindset helps handle this VUCA world.  Adaptability permeates throughout Poutama and is what empowers people to be self-motivated and self-directed and confident in their decision-making.  Adaptability in Poutama is backed up by a team of people, both staff and board, that are emotionally intelligent, are passionate about what they do, they’re optimistic and curious, self-aware and believe in themselves, they are empathetic and above all have a strong desire for people to succeed and to succeed for themselves.

So there you have it in a snapshot….30 years of Poutama and what drives our engine…we look forward to the next 30 years…well some of us do!!

Thanks to all our Poutama wider whanau that came to celebrate with us and also those that were part of our awesome Poutama 30th video.