Social entrepreneur Adele Hauwai, who is of Ngati-Kahungunu/Tuhoe/Ngati-Maniapoto descent, shares her STEM journey with us below…
I have always considered myself a creative thinker, as I didn’t go about learning things in what is considered the typical fashion. As someone with mental health challenges, and who has dealt with epilepsy for 27 years, I’ve seen a lot of the rougher side of life and have experienced the stigma of not being like others. Because of this, I feel a great deal of empathy and compassion. It has given me an awareness that many people are struggling with invisible challenges.
While a lot of the work I do involves technology, I am most interested in the social entrepreneurial perspective – all my work is focused on helping communities and whānau, on making the world a better place.
There are so many technological advances these days which mean it is easier to make this work accessible and engaging, through the use of video, virtual reality, apps and websites. I consider myself a thinker, and so finding the right team to deliver the ideas I develop is really important for my business.
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At present my main focuses are SeeCom which merges sign language and technology, Mana Digital empowering whānau through technology, and Healing Innovation Hub which is creating holistic health and wellbeing resources, and looking at establishing an Indigenous health-line.
As you can see, all of my work is geared towards helping others to grow and improve, and much of this work is designed with Māori in mind. I like to blend Māori concepts and language with technology, as this is a way to keep our culture and people alive and growing.
There are many challenges in life, and it’s important to remember that there is never just one way to do things. Life is what you make of it, and it’s okay not to fit into the regular boxes. You can turn the things you might consider your personal disadvantages into advantages.
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Adele’s study and career pathway to becoming a social entrepreneur
- Degrees in Business, Special Education, and Sign Language.
- Winner of ‘Dig My Idea – Māori Innovation Awards (Open Category, 2017) and the Kokiri Award 2018
- Founder/CEO of SeeCom (2016) and Talk Medicine (2019)
- Healing Innovation Hub CEO Board Member
- Mana Digital Board of Directors
Author: Cassie Hart
Cassie Hart is a Māori writer from Aotearoa New Zealand.