Episode 32

Published on:

5th Jun 2023

Gaining traction long term in Japan through Manaakitanga with Miriana Stephens

We are thrilled to bring you Miriana Stephens, a director for Wakatū Incorporation and General Manager of AuOra™. Wakatū recently signed several MOUs with Japanese organisations to further business ties in education and Food & Beverage. They are approaching the Japanese market in a way that is resonating with their Japanese counterparts, so we are excited to hear more about this and their latest products coming soon. *Manaakitanga: The process of showing respect, generosity and care for others. Thank you to NZ Story for introducing us to this FernMark Licensee member.

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How Miriana came to be a director for Wakatū after managing her own business
  • Why Wakatū decided to choose Japan for their new business AuOra™
  • How Wakatū has excelled despite the challenges of Covid-19 
  • What’s next for Wakatū and when we can expect to see some new products launching

About Miriana

Miriana was born in Motueka and her qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (NZ History) and a Law Degree. She currently resides in Motueka and has four children. She was awarded the 2016 Aotearoa NZ Māori Woman Business Leader award in recognition of outstanding success and excellence in business. 

Miriana is a director for Wakatū Incorporation (Wakatū), its subsidiaries and various committees and they are guided by their intergenerational 500 year vision, Te Pae Tawhiti. Wakatū convened the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Regional Strategy which is a business-led approach to regional development in Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough. This initiative is in partnership with all three councils, whānau, hapū and Iwi, the business community, NMIT and has been supported by investment from the Provincial Growth Fund.  Key priorities are the wellbeing of tangata (our people), te Taiao (our natural world) and pūtea (our economy). 

Miriana is also the General Manager for AuOra™ an associated business of Wakatū that invests in a portfolio of nutrition and ingredient applications which are sourced from the natural biomatter of Aotearoa. The focus is to provide health and wellness solutions that improve the quality of life in the areas of digestive, brain, inflammatory and metabolic health as well as the health of our natural world. 

Miriana has another role as a trustee on AGMARDT, Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua. She is a member of Nuku ki te Puku™ (a national Māori Food and Beverage cluster), the Food and Fibres Partnership Group for the Ministry of Primary Industries (Te Taiao Working Group), NZTE Steering Group Expo 2020 (NZTE) and is the Chair of Leaft Proteins SFFF Programme. 





NZ Story: https://www.nzstory.govt.nz/ 

FernMark: https://www.fernmark.nzstory.govt.nz/ 

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
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About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.