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Three Pacific teams join Mahuki innovation hub at Te Papa

Three Pacific businesses have joined the Mahuki Innovation Hub at Te Papa, supported by the Pacific Business Trust.

Mahuki is an in-residence programme that runs for four months each year in Te Papa's Wellington innovation space, where teams have the opportunity to work with Te Papa's experts and collections and work on real-world culture sector challenges.

Pacific Business Trust is supporting the three Pacific teams, who were selected after taking part in a successful Pacific Innovation Workshop held in May by Mahuki Te Papa. They include SimplyFi Ltd, Tide Talk and Vaka Interactiv.

SimplyFi will be developing a system that streamlines the lending and borrowing process for museums. CEO Jaemen Busby says “due to our cultural backgrounds as a Pacific Island team, we feel this is a good opportunity to provide greater security for some of our cultural artefacts and those for other cultures worldwide.”

Tide Talk is an intuitive, customizable language learning tool that will help preserve the languages of Oceania, and endangered languages around the world.

“Second and third generation immigrants to NZ are losing the languages of their ethnic heritage. If this knowledge and connection to our ancestors can be restored, our experience of the arts will be so much richer” says CEO Lillian Arp.

Vaka Interactiv is a team of four Pasifika and Māori co-founders led by Chief Executive, Jesse Armstrong. They have developed interactive portrait technology that will enable visitors to connect to culture. The team at Vaka Interactiv recognise the cultural sector is aimed at helping people understand and appreciate culture in a way that changes lives for the better. They are excited to embark on this new journey.

PBT CEO Kim Tuaine says a key theme of the Pacific businesses participating in Mahuki is that all of their innovations have relevance globally, not just in a Pacific context.

“The three Pacific teams selected are all developing solutions that will benefit Pacific cultures as well as others globally,” she says.

“The technology will be transferable around the world, which is key to their sustainability in terms of achieving global impact and scalability.”

Te Papa Chief Executive Geraint Martin and Mahuki General Manager Tui Te Hau welcomed the teams to the Te Papa whanau.

“Te Papa is always looking at ways to enable new kinds of storytelling and connect New Zealanders with their taonga. The success of last year’s inaugural Mahuki residency is testimony to how nurturing innovation can reach new audiences,” says Mr Martin.

All teams will have the opportunity to work with Te Papa's experts and collections and work on real-world culture sector challenges, informed by Te Papa's experience as a global leader.

“As part of the Mahuki programme, entrepreneurs will get out on the floor, user test their platforms and have access to our 1.8 million visitors per year – it’s an exceptional opportunity for both the entrepreneurs and Te Papa,” says Ms Te Hau.

Updated on 16th August 2017