Auora, a consumer-focused, health-solutions business will join two other businesses of Wakatū - Kono, our food and drinks business, and Whenua, our property management business.

Auora will design new food, ingredient and health solutions based on the biomatter and active ingredients obtained from the natural resources of Wakatū, and will work with other partners who are aligned with the values of rangatiratanga, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, hihiritanga and pono at Wakatū. Auora will be led by Miriana Stephens (Executive Director of Innovation).

‘From our research we can see a number of opportunities through recent trends and predictions for the future. The food, nutrition and ingredient industry is converging with the health and life-science industries. People are increasingly looking for healthier solutions from what they eat and drink rather than taking traditional medication,’ Miriana Stephens says.

‘With that in mind, we’re going to be concentrating on developing products that solve existing consumer health problems. We’re going to be rigorous and make sure that any benefits are backed up by scientific research. We’re excited to be commercialising ideas we’ve been working on over the last three years.’

The name Auora is a novel combination of two traditional Māori words: ‘ora’ meaning 'health' and 'vitality', and 'au', which has multiple relevant meanings, including ‘current’ and ‘wake’ relating to waka and movement. This name was coined for Wakatū by Dr Karena Kelly (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine).

It draws on the imagery of a waka being drawn by a current, reflecting external environmental influences, and also suggests leaving a wake, evoking trailblazers and innovators.

‘Au’ is also associated with a string or cord, acknowledging whakapapa and the connections between our Owners, employees, and the wellness of our whānau and environment through the solutions we provide.

‘We followed the same process as for any new business name that is adopted by Wakatū,’ Miriana explains. ‘We had a couple of different options and explained the thought processes behind them. We presented these to the Wakatū senior leadership, who then sought endorsement from the Manaaki board. The recommendation went to the Wakatū Board, where the name ‘Auora’ was approved.’