Kayla comes away with an Honourable Mention in her first Start-Up weekend in Tairāwhiti.
The Healthy Families East Cape team is packed with strong independent women, who come from various backgrounds and lived experiences. Kayla Koia (Ngāti Ruawaipu, Ngāti Pokai Ngāti Porou, and Ngāti Rakaipaaka), our Project Coordinator/ Administrator exudes all of these qualities and more.
“I grew up in the Mangatu Forest and Waipaoa Station and have gained experience and understanding from having worked in a variety of different roles over the years,” says Kayla.
“I’ve come from out in the shearing sheds, to assisting in a hospital theatre, to working most recently as an Executive Assistant.”
Start-Up Weekend Tairāwhiti is an annual weekend-long event where entrepreneurs, start-ups, enthusiasts, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, passionate people, and creative thinkers come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch start-ups that will create impact for Tairāwhiti.
This year Kayla participated in her first Start-Up Weekend Tairāwhiti event at the beginning of October, with the promise of networking with like-minded people and lack of sleep.
The theme of this year’s start-up event was “lean in”.
And lean in she did!
While Kayla shared that she felt overwhelmed by the atmosphere, she embraced the challenge of pitching her idea along with 31 other participants. Kayla pitched an idea in the 60 seconds allocated timeframe for pitches, with an idea on how we might create a network for safer communities in Turanganui a Kiwa, in light of the recent events resulting in the deaths of two young Māori wāhine.
“This year brought with it 47 participants, with wahine Māori again leading the pack. 31 pitches were presented on Friday night, which became 7 ideas and teams that worked through the design thinking process”. says Cherish Wilkinson, Start Up Tairāwhiti Weekend Organiser.
Team Kotahi included Kayla and five other members, who presented their idea of a Wellness Centre in Ruatoria, conducting market research, insight gathering, pivoting, and re-writing their pitch.
Final pitches were presented on Sunday to the judges and the public was also welcomed. The team came away with an ‘Honorable Mention’ for their efforts.
“Uniquely Tairāwhiti, everyone brought real community needs and challenges to solve and unpack in this collaborative space. From ways to regenerate whenua whilst remembering lost loved ones, to connecting rural homeowners to tradespeople, to destigmatising conversations about sex and pleasure, there was a real mix of personalities and concepts.” Says Cherish.
"We've had a couple of weeks to reflect on an incredible time that was Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti - lean in. What a magical weekend it was to witness the development and growth of our people. We're so happy we could bring another Startup Weekend to Tairāwhiti this year.”
“The fourth edition since our first in 2018, Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti has delivered a deep learning experience for close to 200 participants, has attracted mentor alumni of around 50 business and community leaders, and involved 20,000 voluntary hours towards supporting Tairāwhiti’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Planning is already well underway for the next event to be held in 2023, one of the best events to undertake your personal and professional development in Te Tairāwhiti.
“We'd encourage anybody who’s looking for deep learning and growth to sign up. Pitch an idea or jump into a team to support someone else's idea. Either way, you'll still get something from the weekend." Says Cherish.
“It’s hard to find the words, I think that SUW is a prime example of kanohi ki te kanohi being paramount to the success of the event. You got to be there and be a part of the whole 54 hours to truly see, feel, understand and learn what it’s all about” says Kayla.
Start-Up Weekend will be celebrated a month after with a Reunion on Wednesday 16th November 2022.