Encouraging and assisting young adults to establish a pathway for a career in ICT and more

Learn MoreOur Story

Encouraging and assisting young adults to establish a pathway for a career in ICT and more

Learn MoreOur Story
Te Kukupa is currently under development and is at the Proof Of Concept stage. The platform has been developed in partnership with a leading edge development company and we are exceptionally proud of how the project is progressing.

Introducing Te Kukupa

Te Kukupa has been developed to assist and encourage young adults with an easy to use platform helping them to establish a career pathway into the ICT Sector. The platform will launch in ICT and move into other sectors where New Zealand has shortages in skilled workers such as Health, Construction, Forestry etc.

The Platform

Prospective users simply sign up on our secure website, answer a few simple questions about themselves to create a profile, then scroll and select the list of matches. We provide online mentoring help and will provide ongoing support throughout the individuals journey.

Our Story

The concept for Te Kukupa came when Cherie was working in the Wellington recruitment sector and she established that there was a substantial lack of people who identified as Maori and Pasifica working in the ICT sector.

As the face of New Zealand changes, it has been predicted that the majority of the workforce will be made up predominantly of these ethnicities in times to come, and as a country, it is important that we future proof and have access to a highly skilled pool of graduates in this sector.

We are partnering with not only relevant course providers within this sector but funding and grants available through local Iwi. The name Te Kukupa is of strong importance to our founder Cherie Tirikātene-Le Cheminant being the name of her late uncle Kaiākau Kukupa Tirikātene, who was a well-known teacher, mentor and Manukau Institute of Technology’s (MIT) kaumātua.

- Kaiākau Kukupa Tirikātene

Who We Are

Cherie Tirikatane-Le Cheminant

Cherie Tirikatane-Le Cheminant

Founder & Director

Cherie Tirikatene is CEO of SEED NZ and the founder of Te Kukupa. Former CEO of BIZview and General Manager of Pentech Communications Ltd. Cherie is passionate about Maori and Pacific Island ICT development which was one of the main drivers for the Te Kukupa platform which is to encourage rangatahi into this sector.

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Cherie is also the Director of Finance and Commercial for Mana Labs Limited who hold a special interest in education and scientific research, Mana Labs partners with a wide variety of organisations that serve the health, well-being, personal development, and employment prospects of community members.

Cherie is a passionate advocate for iwi, hapu and marae based development and self-determination. She can see the potential in the rangatahi she engages with and actively encourages their participation in ICT as a vehicle to deliver on their future desires.

Cherie enjoys working alongside others, brokering new relationships, collaboration and delivering value where it matters most, which is to the people.

Sir Mark Solomon

Sir Mark Solomon

Chairman - Seed NZ

Tā Mark Solomon is committed to the betterment of his iwi, kotahitanga for Māori and the wider well-being of people and the environment. He is a strong advocate for the Māori economy and was instrumental in setting up the Iwi Chairs Forum (2005). He was the elected Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu from 1998 to December 2016 and represented his local Papatipu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura from 1995 to December 2016.

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Of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kurī descent, Tā Mark’s contribution to his community has been diverse and significant, ranging from roles as a school board trustee, to a past board member of the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa). Tā Mark attributes his wider whānau (family) for early guidance and it is this experience that has driven his passion for encouraging educational opportunities for young Māori. He is a patron of He Toki Ki Te Rika, a Christchurch-based Māori pre-trade training programme, and the related He Toki Ki Te Mahi, an apprenticeship initiative both born from the Christchurch earthquake rebuild. He believes young Māori should strive for formal training to maximize their talents and to be the best they can be.

In 2013 he was awarded Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Business. In April 2015 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Lincoln University as Doctor of Natural Resources, recognising his enduring interest and concern for our natural environment. Tā Mark was recently appointed to the National Science Challenge Governance Boards for Sustainable Seas and Deep South which relate to both ensuring our marine environment is understood and cared for and understanding the role of the Antarctic in determining our climate and future environment.

Tā Mark’s current directorships include Te Ohu Kaimoana, National Science Challenge Governance Boards for the Deep South and Sustainable Seas, Te Tapuae o Rehua and a trustee of Pure Advantage. He was an original member of the Minister for Māori Affairs Māori Economic Taskforce, established in 2009.

Tā Mark believes a true rangatira is a servant of the people, a fact underpinned by his core philosophy of ‘strength with humility’. Whilst the commercial success of Ngāi Tahu is acknowledged, Tā Mark is especially proud of the tribe’s achievements in education and the development of the Iwi’s savings scheme Whai Rawa. Tā Mark is a committed advocate for the sanctity of whānau and takes a strong stance against whānau violence. He is passionate about his people and is determined to facilitate both iwi and wider Māori success by unlocking the potential of the Māori economy for the good of all.

Maru Nihoniho  MNZM

Maru Nihoniho MNZM


Maru Nihoniho MNZM is the managing director, game producer and designer at Metia Interactive, an award-winning game development studio. She leads a team of developers that include artists and programmers. As well as designing and developing original IP she also produces 3rd party games across multiple platforms including PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, Mac and other technologies such as Virtual Reality.

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Under Maru’s leadership Metia developed SPARX, an educational tool to help rangatahi (young people) combat depression. SPARX was developed in conjunction with researchers from the University of Auckland and is an animated 3D game where young people learn life skills to combat depression by completing challenges based on proven cognitive behaviour therapies. The game has been proven to have a significant positive impact on young people aged 12 to 19 years. SPARX has won several awards including the 2011 United Nations World Summit Awards in the e-Health and Environment category.

Her first commercial title ‘Cube’, a puzzle game for the PlayStation Portable, was published in 2006 and released in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australasia. ‘Cube 2’, in development, is a psychometric test tool that will help improve spatial and cognitive abilities.

Maru provides mentoring and advice to those looking to get into game development and has given talks at schools and industry events.

In 2016 Maru was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in gaming and mental health, and recently awarded the Innovator of the Year in 2017 MCV Pacific Women in Games Awards from Microsoft Xbox. She was also named in the top 50 Women in Tech for FORBES.

She is currently studying for her Masters Degree in Technological Futures through Tech Futures Lab.

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Contact Us

As this concept develops we are looking to talk to any interested parties, investors or media, who might like to find out more about this project. Please contact us.

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