Amotai is the swell in the tide; a tide that can carry all waka to new horizons.

Sustainable procurement is a key focus for Ventia, as we seek to engage with and support the communities in which we work.

In New Zealand, we are proud to have commenced a partnership with Amotai (formerly He Waka Eke Noa) an organisation formed to provide business-to-business representation for Maori and Pasifika businesses.

The name Amotai is inspired by the innovation, bravery, fortitude and exceptional navigational expertise our New Zealand colleagues' ancestors (tipuna) had in traversing Te Moana nui a Kiwa, the great Pacific Ocean.

Ventia's Executive Manager for Transport, Vic Hensley says that the symbolism evoked by the name Amotai, and their goal to improve opportunities for Maori and Pasifika-owned businesses, is very much in line with Ventia's aspirations in New Zealand.

Through discussions with major clients in New Zealand, like Auckland Transport and clients such as Waka Kotahi (NZTA), the need to find a way to access a broader array of local businesses was clear," Vic says.

"Whilst it's been challenging to engage face-to-face this year due to the pandemic, Amotai have established a digital platform which we're excited to use to help up access services and improve our supplier diversity."

Amotai recently launched their buyer membership and online platform, through which Ventia can connect with over 400 Maori and Pasifika businesses. Amotai can facilitate supplier events in New Zealand at which opportunities can be explored.

The categories suppliers sit in encompass construction, recruitment, facilities management, horticulture and agriculture, through to fire and security services and more.

Ventia's Procurement Process and Governance Manager Kristy Mickovski says she was pleased to have had the opportunity to have those early discussions with He Waka Eke Noa (now Amotai) around how they wanted to model their organisation on the Supply Nation format and success in Australia.

Being part of the early journey of an organisation like Amotai was really exciting," Kristy says.

"We're looking at ways we can leverage relationships like this to build strong partnerships in New Zealand." Amotai (originally named He Waka Eke Noa) was established in 2018 by The Southern Initiative team at Auckland Council, supported by partners who shared the vision of promoting Māori and Pasifika entrepreneurship through smarter use of procurement and supply chains.

We look forward to sharing success stories as we engage with Maori and Pasifika businesses in New Zealand in coming months.