When Blanche Morrogh (nee Murray) started Kai Ora Honey in 2012, she had no idea it would bloom so quickly into a multi-million dollar global concern.
Today, the Far North-based whānau-owned business operates 2500 hives and exports 50 tonnes of Active Manuka Honey to customers in Asia, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Kuwait, with plans to export 90 tonnes-plus by 2020.
Her achievements were honoured on Friday night when Morrogh (Ngāti Kuri and Te Rarawa) received the Young Māori Business Leader Award in the 2017 University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards at a sold-out dinner.
The awards, which recognise and celebrate outstanding Māori excellence and success in business, are run by the University of Auckland Business School and widely regarded as the nation’s premier Māori Business awards.
Morrogh comes from a line of leaders: late grandmother Saana Waitai Murray was one of six iwi representatives who lodged the historic “flora and fauna” Wai 262 claim with the Waitangi Tribunal.
Morrogh, who has an 18-month old, works alongside husband Liam Morrogh, brothers Tae, Sobieski, Samson and Walter and sister Mabel Murray.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family,” she says. “I’m so blown away to receive this award on behalf of us all. Kai Ora arose from the vision of our late grandmother and father Rapine Murray. Now we’re living proof that Māori can operate a successful, sustainable business right here in Te Tai Tokerau.”
Wāhine dominated the awards year, with women taking out four of the five categories for individuals.
“This reflects the strength of wāhine in business across all sectors and industries,” says Dr Chellie Spiller, an Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Māori and Pacific at the Business School.
“These awards recognise the tremendous contributions that all leaders – individuals, organisations and their communities – make to a strong and growing economy grounded in Māori worldviews,” she says.
“Award ceremonies also help highlight role models for rangatahi, which is why we assigned 10 out of 60 tables to students and other rangatahi.”