Business Consultants: Kānuka kōrero: people & purpose

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He aha te kai a te rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero.
What is the food of the leader? It is conversation, it is communication.

Kānuka Wellbeing & Leadership has operated in the Bay for eight years and supported business leaders and teams through the disruption of Covid-19 and its ripple effects over the last two years.

Wiremu and Steve co-direct Kānuka and bring their knowledge and expertise in toiora wellbeing, maximising team performance, and performing under pressure to a number of sectors across the North Island.

Building Upon Bi-Cultural Practice

Kānuka is the only consultancy service, within the Bay, to provide a full range of individual and organisational development programmes that are all underpinned by, and actively integrate, Te Ao Māori principles. As social norms embrace the learning of Te Reo and Tikanga Māori, demand for services has grown.

“We have worked alongside the health sector for a number of years where kaupapa māori awareness and practice has been a common theme for some time; however, it is only more recently that this same demand has grown from the private and commercial sector. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to share te ao Māori principles and see them effectively applied in business practice.”

In Wiremu’s experience, the sharing of te ao Māori is a logical and effective method of building relationships and improving communication within the professional environs.

“Māori custom is strongly committed to building whanaungatanga (nurturing and upholding relationships) and this method – applied to professional relationships – brings clearer understandings and stronger commitments between parties.”

Prioritising the Value of Relationship

Steve and Wiremu’s common personal philosophies have shaped their approach to working with their clients.

Steve comments, “Other than as keynote speakers or conference presenters, we won’t provide ‘one-off’ workshops or presentations. Our desire is to build deep connections and long-term commitment to help our clients grow and prosper. This requires authentic drivers, investment in people and process; and engagement with a clear vision.”

Working alongside clients, Kānuka has recognised that an unintentional focus upon symptoms often leads to short-term results and investment in the ‘problem’ that isn’t the ‘real problem’.

“This isn’t just an issue for organisations, it’s also a common issue for individuals that we coach. Our clients reach a point of recognition that their behaviour or output is incongruent with their desired persona.

“We take them through a robust process that dives beneath the surface and explores unconscious paradigms. To engage in this process demands high levels of manaakitanga, (generosity, kindness, uplifting and strengthening another), tangata whenuatanga (place-based, socio-cultural awareness and knowledge) and wānanga (communication and problem solving).”

Health as Integral to Performance

As development consultants to high performing organisations and highly driven individuals, we look upon Covid-19 as an excellent teacher of the importance of wellbeing.

Wiremu shares, “As a health professional wellbeing has been a consistent point of personal practice and from the very beginning we have always shared wellbeing strategies within our programmes and services.

“Post Covid-19 we have witnessed a deeper resolve and pledge by clients to adopt these strategies more fully.”

This approach to health is underpinned by Te Whare Tapa Wha (Durie, 1984), which represents a Māori worldview of health that considers individuals as multi-faceted and requiring balance between wairua (spirit/energy), hinengaro (mental/emotional), tinana (physical) and whānau (family/social connections).

It’s an approach that has resonated with many clients and is now reaching beyond New Zealand’s borders.

Looking Forward with Purpose

Kānuka’s goals for 2023 include bringing new team members aboard the journey and expanding digital programme platforms.

Steve explains “We have the benefit of positioning ourselves as boutique consultants. We are a small team fully committed to our practice philosophy and excellent outcomes for those we work with. As we work through the process of onboarding new team members, we do so with careful deliberation, and we apply this same deliberation when meeting with prospective clients.

“It’s highly important to us that we present ourselves authentically and with integrity. We do not commit to a service provider relationship until we have worked through our initial process of whanaungatanga and understanding. By investing in these steps, both we and the potential client have the opportunity to identify our mutual ‘fit’.”

Commenting on digital expansion plans, Wiremu notes “We’ve worked with a number of organisations and have created bespoke internal digital platforms to sit alongside our workshops and individual coaching.

“As we look toward 2023, our educational specialists are excited to develop a highly responsive platform that will take our unique New Zealand model to an international audience.”

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