Meet Maraika Rose Lidgard

Business Graduate, Sustainability Performance and Reporting,
Tāmaki Makaurau

I grew up in Tāmaki Makaurau but I’m originally from Ahipara which is in the Far North of Aotearoa. Summers and school holidays were spent at home in Ahipara, which was great because I got the best of both worlds, city life and country life.

Māori are the tāngata whenua of Aotearoa and it is imperative that we recognise the indigenous culture of New Zealand. Matariki is a time for reflection, to honour those who have passed on, and to set intentions for the year to come. 

I studied a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts conjoint at the University of Auckland, majoring in Marketing, Management and Māori studies. I also undertook a Bachelor of Property simultaneously. I completed three degrees in six years which was a feat in itself but my proudest academic accomplishment was being the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Māori Business Student of the Year accolade in 2020. Following my university studies, I took up an opportunity with Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei, who are the local iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau and mana whenua. I then found my way to Fonterra.

I am on a never-ending journey to rediscover my cultures, both Māori and Sāmoan.

At university, I joined Ngā Tauira Māori, the Māori Student Association and that’s where my fire truly ignited for my culture. Being surrounded by peers who kōrero Māori encouraged me to learn more about my culture, especially as someone who wasn’t raised in or around te ao Māori. I was once described as a professional student and I guess I am continuing to prove them right because I am already back in a tertiary institution, this time, at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa studying Te Reo Māori.

I've recently started my own business, Peace and Ora. Our mission is to amplify indigenous resources by providing life management solutions tailored towards indigenous people. Not only are our products for personal development but they also provide the daily introspection needed to ensure that we are all checking in on ourselves and looking after our taha hinengaro (mental health).  On the first of June we launched our first product, the ‘Discovering You’ journal. ‘Discovering You’ is a bilingual mental health journal created by Māori with the intention of daily introspection. It guides you through a year of journaling to help you understand what makes you, you. The cost of therapy is a luxury most cannot afford and I believe that having mental health resources catered to the Māori and Polynesian worldview provides an outlet that our people need.

Learning about Māori culture is a journey that everyone should embark on. It's definitely a rewarding one.

Tūwhitia te hopo, mairangatia te angitu!

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway!