Shay Wright

Maori generally fall within the bottom 80% of indicators that Government uses to measure wellbeing, and Maori are nearly three times as likely to be unemployed and/or convicted of a criminal offence. Shay is working to empower the next generation of Maori entrepreneurs and leaders through the organisation he co-founded, Te Whare Hukahuka

From the Far North iwi of Te Rawara, 27-year old Shay Wright worked in the Maori business development at The Icehouse in Auckland, where he learnt a lot about startups, market validation and building scalable business models. In 2016, Shay was named in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia-Pacific for his efforts. "What gets me up in the morning is the ‘knowing’ that I help return pride and opportunity to Maori communities so that we can all flourish.”

Key steps in the journey

Shay grew up in the Far North of New Zealand, and attended Kaitaia College where he was head boy in 2007. He went on to study commerce and law at the University of Auckland, where he received a Chancellors Award for Top Maori and Pacific Scholars.

Passionate about business and entrepreneurship as a means for economic empowerment, Shay joined Auckland business growth organisation The Icehouse after graduating – initially working in marketing and communications, and then onto head up the Maori Business unit.

Shay co-founded Te Whare Hukahuka in 2015, developing a range of programmes to empower existing Maori leaders and train the next generation of Maori leaders.