Samoan mother, educator, author and owner of Mila’s Ltd Dahlia Malaeulu has collected the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) sponsored Pacific Woman in Business accolade at the 2020 Wellington Pasifika Business Awards.
Pasifika people wake up every day and tell themselves a story – one that often involves a narrative from broader society they are “not enough”, says the educator and author who writes and publishes Pasifika children’s books.
“As many of us who’ve made it through to the other side know, we are more than enough,” she adds, following her win at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke on Wednesday.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio was also at the event and congratulated Dahlia on the recognition for her efforts to help Pasifika children to write their own narratives.
The Wellington Pasifika Business Awards celebrate, champion and inspire Pasifika business success throughout the Wellington region and beyond, and this year's event focused on the theme, Pasifika business resilience and recovery.
There were five business categories and a new Pasifika Special Recognition Beacon Award, which set the tone one of the underlying themes for the evening – the celebration and leadership through service, Tautua.
The Beacon Award was presented to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr who is of Cook Island descent.
Adrian’s contribution to Pacific communities throughout his distinguished career was celebrated and recognised with this award.
Lower Hutt’s Tongan business Papa’s Cakes Ltd owned by Nancy Sunia and Jasmine Tonga, took home the Pasifika Small to Medium Enterprise Award, sponsored by Te Awe Maori Business Network.
Another Hutt Valley enterprise Lawnz Plus Hutt Valley Ltd, owned by Samoans Mark Sami Lakisoe and Mel Matulino, won the Pacific Business Trust sponsored Pasifika Rising Star Award for start-up businesses less than two years old.
Naenae-based PunchFit Boxing Gym NZ Ltd received the Ministry of Social Development sponsored Pasifika Community Business Award.
Owned and run by Tokelauan cousins Ana Pereira, John Gatu and Lou Pedro, the trio also run PunchFit classes in Cannons Creek.
Lastly, after more than nine years in business, Hydro Health Ltd, owned by Malia Flaza, received Wellington Pasifika Business Network’s Pasifika Resilience Business Award.
Wellington Pasifika Business Network Chairman Paul Retimanu says the organisation is pleased with this year’s nominations despite a difficult year for many businesses with COVID-19.
“The entries are mainly young companies that are less than three years old and this is good to see as we’ve been trying to increase the number of Pacific people in business,” Paul says.
“We’re especially pleased this year’s judging panel was made up of previous winners of the Awards, who know from first-hand experience what it’s like as a Pasifika businessperson, to set up and grow your own business.”
The Network is encouraging all Pacific people who are considering starting their own business to attend its annual general meeting and Christmas gathering on December 8, at 6pm.