Maaka Kahukuranui

Maaka Kahukurangi

UCE Involvement

BSNS290 Course: 'Enterprise in Practice' (2017/18)

Summer Startup Programme (2017/18)

What is your current job and what do you find interesting about your job?

I am a teacher. I love passing on knowledge and learning from my students.

What other jobs have you had previously?

I have served 20 years in the military where I have learned life and communication skills and understanding the dynamics of people & culture.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I love reading, learning, and understanding about new initiatives, especially initiatives which embrace offering support and assistance to others e.g. the implementation of renewable energy. I love giving to people. I sponsor young people, families that are struggling and I love giving my time.

How did you come across UCE and what are you working on at the moment?

I came across UCE by a recommendation from a friend who had already been through programmes here and after he’d heard my intentions he suggested that UCE was the best place for me to start, and he was absolutely correct.

My company SolarMia will build a 2.5Mw Solar Farm feeding power to around 250 residential homes with a more affordable and cleaner option.

Where is Solar Mia now? How have you progressed by being in the programme?

Right now, I am liaising with other like-minded businesses and am in the process of securing the ‘F’ word… funding!

The progression that SolarMia has made during these first 6 weeks has resulted in many networking opportunities and counsel from many amazing business leaders. This window has allowed SolarMia to connect with so many mentors and leaders that would normally take a couple of years to reach. UCE has accelerated Solar Mia and helped me grow as a person. I have really enjoyed working alongside like-minded peers. I have been spending a week in each office with the different teams to familiarise and learn something from someone new and this has been extremely valuable. 

What is your most memorable moment so far?

Listening to Michael Lappen’s journey and the mountains he has had to climb was definitely a ‘wow’ moment. I also liked how he talked about failure as a positive thing encouraging all to see failure as an asset. I really connected with this as I also teach my students that failure is a good thing.

What advice would you give to a student considering starting up their own venture or considering applying for UCE?

If you want sound, quality advice I would say you have come to the best place on the planet. Meet n greet everyone because the success of your business is possible in this group of incredible entrepreneurs.

What are your aspirations for the future?

Solar Mia will build New Zealand’s first ever Solar Farm here in Christchurch. Then we will replicate on a much larger scale in Nelson, Tauranga and North Auckland supplying energy to approximately 10,000 homes in each those three regions. One other future project is to provide funding for students from low socio-economic homes as a scholarship to pursue their dreams.