Pacific teams join Te Papa innovation hub

Three Pacific entrepreneurial teams started a four-month residency at Te Papa’s Mahuki innovation accelerator at the end of July.



The three teams were selected after taking part in a successful Pacific Innovation Workshop held in May by Mahuki Te Papa and the Pacific Business Trust.


"Pacific people have showed innovation for centuries-you only need to read the stories of navigation and doubled hulled vaka that astounded Captain Cook to realise this,” says Mr Ngaro.


“So I’m really pleased to hear that spirit of innovation continuing today with three of the nine entrepreneurial teams taking up this unique residency of pacific descent.


“From ensuring the security of our cultural artefacts, to preserving our languages and making culture more accessible; these teams are showing just how traditional cultural values can prompt creative ideas.


“Being selected to enter Mahuki, the first accelerator of its kind in the world, is an achievement in itself. Together with their families and loved ones they should be very proud of what they’ve achieved. However, the real work starts now and I look forward to watching these teams flourish and succeed as part of this programme.”


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 nine 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 1.8million visitors per year – it’s an exceptional opportunity for both the entrepreneurs and Te Papa,” says Ms Te Hau.



The Three Pacific businesses are:


SimplyFi Ltd


SimplyFi will be developing a system that streamlines the lending and borrowing process for museums.


The collection management system enables the lender and borrower to see updates in real time, similar to the way Google Docs enables users to see document edits as they are being made. This system will enable the tracking of items and information through tracing them at checkpoint markers.


SimplyFi 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


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


Auckland based Founders Lillian Arp and Konini Rairoa are joining Mahuki with a passion for language and learning.


“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


Vaka Interactiv is a team of four Pasifika and Māori co-founders led by Chief Executive, Jesse Armstrong.


The Auckland based team are entering Mahuki with 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.


About PBT:



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.