PBT supports exciting tech initiative

The Pacific Business Trust is making a commitment to support Pacific and Maori entrepreneurs in the creative, cultural and tech sectors, following the Mahuki showcase hosted at Te Papa in Wellington on Monday December 5, 2016.



KOHA Technologies was among the teams of entrepreneurs and innovators presenting to an audience that included a number of potential investors. KOHA empowers indigenous cultures through digital infrastructures and mobile communications.


Their team come from varied Pacific backgrounds including NZ Maori, Kiribati and the Cook Islands. Creative lead Ethan Sagar headed KOHA’s presentation at Te Papa.


Ethan acknowledged concerns by Maori and other indigenous cultures around the Pacific of fears that “when we move artefacts into the digital world the stories underlining them can get changed or lost in translation”, which creates the potential to “affect our taonga’s authenticity”.


Ethan cited the haka Ka Mate written by one of his ancestors, Te Rauparaha, made famous worldwide by the All Blacks performing it prior to every rugby test it plays.


“Internationally, people perceive Ka Mate as a native war dance,” he says.


“But the people in my iwi know the compelling truth, that it’s a celebration of life with a narrative of how he found safety in need, with his finishing words ‘Whiti Te Ra’ translating to ‘I see the sun again’.”



Koha is dedicated to telling lost stories through virtual and augmented reality. It uses their cultural connections to uncover ancestry and heritage that is stored, treasured and portrayed with authenticity via mobile apps, web portals and social platforms.


“We’ve already attracted interest from other Pacific cultures, and our head, Kevin Sherlock, has participated in seminars relating to North American and Australian indigenous cultures,” says Ethan.


“His visits confirmed that what we’re providing will be of benefit to indigenous cultures across the globe. The stories are compelling and authentic and Koha will help keep these cultures alive.”


Pacific Business Trust CEO Kim Tuaine says the Trust will ensure the opportunity provided by the Mahuki showcase at Te Papa will not be wasted.


“We’ve been focusing on the creative and tech sectors and I’m pleased to see lots of exciting Pacific businesses that are embracing being part of this exciting and innovative sector,” she says.


“We’re partnering with Koha to help these entrepreneurs devise and implement business strategies and structures, and arm them with the skills necessary to access key markets. Establishing a pathway and providing business support is vital over the next few months.”


Check out these awesome photos from the night:









Koha Technologies is a Porirua-based technology company that supports indigenous peoples with the digitisation and telling of their cultural stories. They do this by building the digital asset base allowing indigenous cultures to store, access and convey their cultural stories, providing a platform for the dispersion of cultural digital stories globally and, creating new innovative ways to display and interact with indigenous cultural treasures.


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The Pacific Business Trust is a 'not for profit' Charitable Trust set up in 1985, providing economic development services for Pacific Businesses and Business People within New Zealand.