Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is delighted to celebrate Georgia Latu of Pōtiki Poi, who has received the Hiwaterangi
Award for Young Achievers at this year’s Ngā Tohu Matariki o Te Tau. This prestigious annual event recognises Māori
whose passion, innovation and dedication is making a difference in our communities, and as the 14-year-old chief
executive of the world’s largest poi manufacturer, Georgia is a very deserving recipient.
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Pouārahi Helen Leahy says she is not surprised that Georgia has been singled out at this
year’s Matariki awards for Māori excellence.
“We are so proud of Georgia – and her mother Anna – and congratulate Pōtiki Poi on this stunning success,” Ms Leahy
says. “Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is proud to have supported Pōtiki Poi as one of our Whānau Ora entities and to
celebrate Georgia as an example for young Māori to aspire to.”
Ms Leahy says that Georgia’s background in kohanga reo and strong connection to her community has been instrumental to
“Georgia wanted to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to create something
that could give back to her community,” says Ms Leahy. “Today, Pōtiki Poi is an entity that offers financial security
and employment to Georgia’s whānau and friends, and people with diverse abilities.” There is now an established
relationship between Pōtiki Poi and Cargill Enterprises which supports local disabled persons to secure employment.
“Beyond employment opportunities, Georgia has always been really clear about her intentions to create a sustainable and
environmentally conscious business that honours the traditional art of poi,” says Ms Leahy. “She worked with Otago
Museum to learn more about how poi were made in the past, and considered how this should shape her craft today.”
Pōtiki Poi source all of their fabric from op shops and have a strong focus on recycling and repurposing, down to
ensuring that any plastic used in the production process must reflect an environmentally friendly agenda. Georgia also
uses her knowledge of poi to lead workshops that share history and instruct in the art of poi.