Raewyn Tipene is the 2021 inductee for the Northland Business Hall of Fame
Raewyn has been recognised for her significant contributions to Te Taitokerau through her business and community activities since the early 1990s.
NorthChamber Chief Executive Steve Smith says the Northern Advocate Business Hall of Fame is designed to recognise those who have, during their business career, demonstrated service both to their industry and to the greater Northland community.
“Raewyn is clearly that kind of person and we are lucky to have her steadfast commitment to keep giving back to the community and making Northland a better place,” says Mr Smith. “NorthChamber recognises that the efforts of individual business people are actually the fuel that keeps the economy running. Her work has not only led to significant business success, but transformational outcomes in housing, education, youth leadership and technology innovation,” says Mr Smith.
Raewyn is passionate about building whānau prosperity and improving wellbeing for Māori. It was in the 1990s that Raewyn became one of a small number of young, qualified Māori women around the country, involved in a range of life-changing projects. Her humility is immense. Her influence included being on the early board of Te Rūnanga ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi, Chair of Te Rūnanga O Ngati Hine, establishing Kia Ora Ngāpuhi Housing and the establishment of Ngati Hine Radio. The breadth and diversity of her work and influence then and now, has covered housing construction, education services, land development, digital services and Māori development largely through an entity she set up, He Puna Marama Trust. And Raewyn is now looking to develop housing projects to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for first home buyers, having already been instrumental in building over 700 homes for whānau around the mid-North. Her current aim in Hikurangi is to offer new builds at around $450k to help people into the property market with quality and warm homes.
While humbled with her award, Raewyn says she would like to see more Maori step up and be recognised for their contribution to community, like many she was driven to keep giving back. Through the establishment of Mokopuna Early Childhood Centres in Northland, thousands of youngsters have had an excellent Māori immersion start to pre-school life. Meanwhile, over 200 young Māori men who live by a code of service, built around a military ethos have gone on to higher learning, trades and careers.
“The most satisfying thing I have done in my working life, is establish the Leadership Academy Of A Company, giving meaning and purpose to the lives of many young men. The Leadership Academy is dedicated to the men of the 28th Maori Battalion. “Over the years, being part of Iwi and Hapu development, I decided we needed to do things differently. The Trust and its work is really about offering different models for our people, for our country, through whanau. I have always been very particular about making things happen.”
There is so much more to Raewyn’s story. Kaikohe born and bred, university educated, well-travelled and driven to come home in her 20’s to ‘help her people’, while later in her career the driver was to create an enriching learning, working, business environment that would nurture her own children. Not only that but the children of others to be highly capable, successful citizens who share the same vision for Prosperous Whanau, in all its forms.