16 August 2022 at 2:51 pm

PIF Recipient: Te Whare Hukahuka

Empowering indigenous communities through entrepreneurship and innovation is the driving force behind Ka Hao, an indigenous e-commerce course that’s already generating huge interest in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

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Ka Hao is one of the successful initiatives to receive funding through the International Education Product Innovation Fund, a New Zealand Government-funded initiative designed to reimagine what an education from Aotearoa New Zealand can look like and mean for global learners.  

With Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) - New Zealand's government agency for international education and the kaitiaki of the Product Innovation Fund – onboard as a partner, Ka Hao is set to grow and create impact beyond our horizons, empowering and developing indigenous entrepreneurs across Australia and the South Pacific. 

Te Whare Hukahuka (meaning the House of Innovation) is an Auckland-based indigenous social enterprise on a mission to improve the lives of 10 million indigenous peoples. Across a six-year-long track record, Te Whare Hukahuka has run programmes and delivered training in governance, business coaching, innovation, and rangatahi (youth) development. 

Through indigenous leadership, Te Whare Hukahuka is proving that enterprises owned and managed by indigenous communities can be financially successful, create positive social outcomes, respect the environment, and uplift the culture of local communities. 


That’s exactly what Ka Hao, Te Whare Hukahuka’s latest initiative, delivers on. Ka Hao is a ‘by indigenous, for indigenous’ e-commerce programme. Across 18 weeks learners design, build, launch and grow their own e-commerce system selling products and services to the world. Although the programme is delivered online, Ka Hao supports and engages its learners with a pastoral care team of more than 50 people – a unique point of difference which sets Ka Hao apart from other education offerings. By enhancing the support for learners, Te Whare Hukahuka aims to create an engaging learner experience and significantly boost programme competition rates and graduation results. 

Well-resourced learner support is just part of what makes Ka Hao different from traditional education offerings. Everything about Ka Hao has been designed to create a learning environment that is culturally sensitive, safe, and respectful of the historical, social, cultural, geographic and economic factors that have left indigenous peoples in a disadvantaged position near the bottom of wellbeing indicators, both in New Zealand and other countries. 

With more than 500 Māori learners already on the waiting list for this year’s Ka Hao programme, Te Whare Hukahuka is looking to bring the Ka Hao kaupapa to indigenous peoples beyond Aotearoa. The funding provided by ENZ through the Product Innovation Fund will enable Te Whare Hukahuka to research, pilot, test and evolve their first education offering across 16 Pacific countries. The target audience is new and existing indigenous business owners. 

The International Education Product Innovation Fund is also supporting six other pilot projects from both established and emerging education providers around New Zealand. Together, the pilots reimagine what a New Zealand education offering can look like for global learners. In the case of Ka Hao, the pilot will explore how providers such as Te Whare Hukahuka can weave Māori knowledge and worldview into an education offering that is culturally relevant and responsive for indigenous learners in other countries. 

As New Zealand’s dedicated agency for international education, ENZ is working with all the fund recipients in a partnership approach, building mutual benefit and reciprocity. The lessons learned through the pilot projects will be shared for the benefit of New Zealand’s whole international education sector, contributing to a broader and more diverse understanding of what international education can do for New Zealand, as well as the global learners who trust us. 

More information: 

Visit Ka Hao’s Youtube Channel to see over 4700 videos from their indigenous alumni 


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