New Zealand celebrates women entrepreneurs 130 years post suffrage

As market entry PR specialists with an Asia Pacific base in Auckland, we often attend the ‘Women in Export’ events hosted by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). This ongoing series of networking events provides a great opportunity to meet other entrepreneurial professionals who are passionate about exporting their products and services into new markets.

Global in our thinking and our approach, we always find their events incredibly thought-provoking and full of useful insights for our team members based in Auckland and the UK.

Celebrating inspirational women past and present

The most recent NZTE ‘Women in Export’ event that we had the pleasure of attending was in celebration of 130 years of suffrage in New Zealand. In 1893, New Zealand’s pioneering spirit granted women the right to vote, leaving an indelible mark on history.

The power of diversity and innovation cannot be understated, especially when it comes to driving economic growth and propelling businesses forward. NZTE is committed to its goal of having 50% of their exporting companies led by women, to reflect the true diversity of New Zealand and to pave the way for the next generation of empowered women in business and leadership.

To pay homage to this enduring legacy, NZTE wanted to create an event to celebrate another important milestone that was recently achieved: the inaugural all-wāhine (all female in Maori) trade mission to Melbourne, Australia (13-16 August).

The all-wāhine trade mission to Melbourne, Australia

This ground-breaking Trade Mission symbolised the unity and strength of women leaders, while creating bonds and fostering collaboration to create a culture of learning and working together for the greater good.

The Mission aimed to boost New Zealand’s export growth and deliver commercial outcomes, while helping to raise the profile of New Zealand’s exports in Australia. The Mission also provided an opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship (CER).

During the three-day mission, delegates heard from a wealth of inspirational business leaders from companies such as ANZ, Country Road, Xero, Kantar, KeepCup, Cox Inall Ridgeway, Ngali, ACMI, and Melbourne Business School, amongst others, to gain insights on the key differences in doing business in New Zealand and Australia, while learning how to successfully conduct business in Australia.

Delegates also had the opportunity to connect with and learn about the Mission leaders ahead of the arrival of Hon Barbara Edmonds, the Minister for Economic Development and Pacific Peoples, who joined the delegates during their Mission.

 Inspirational businesswomen paving the way for other female founders

The esteemed panel of wāhine who shared their experiences from the Mission at the NZTE event included Katey Mandy, Founder of RAAIE Skincare; Michele Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO of AWWA; and Wyndi Tagi, Co-Founder of WE Mana. During the discussions, the guest speakers shared the challenges that they had faced which are unique to women in business – with juggling families and a career, gender bias in employment, and a lack of access to investment for female founders topping the list of shared challenges.

Our client Rhona Mackenzie, Co-Founder of RedShoots, an Auckland-based FMCG brand incubator, was one of the 26 distinguished female business leaders who was selected to go on this prestigious mission to represent New Zealand business interests in Melbourne.

Talking about her experience, Rhona said: “I was honoured to have been selected to join other inspirational businesswomen for this mission. As a Kiwi business owner, it was wonderful to be granted the opportunity to learn from other businesswomen, while getting essential advice on how to successfully navigate the Australian market. We’ve already started making inroads in Australia, with recent key partnerships with renowned Australian retailers Woolworths and Coles, and we look forward to continuing our growth trajectory in this exciting market.”

Our UK team had the opportunity to meet up with Rhona and her team at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair (11-12th September 2023) in London, for which we had hosted an event in the summer to share our advice on how to effectively use trade shows and what to do before the show as well as using PR and marketing to elevate one’s brand presence and create a lasting impact in the UK market.

Red Shoots is passionate in their belief that ‘great ingredients make great products’, and that ethos carries through in the brands that they’ve created.  Key brands within the Red Shoots portfolio include Daily Good, a range of all-natural Immunity Shots; and Good Cocktail Co., a range of naturally crafted, alcohol-free cocktail mixers. Red Shoots created these products to fulfil consumer demand for products that not only taste great, but that are also healthy and made with natural ingredients.


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