Tight competition but Team Edu Kai wins Pacific Challenge

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Enjoying the 21 Day Pacific Challenge were (L-R) UC Vice Chancellor Dr Rod Carr, NZ Niue High Commissioner Mrs O’Love Jacobsen, UC Associate Professor Sussie Morrish and PT&I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade.

Team Edu Kai took top honours at the University of Canterbury’s 21 Day Pacific Challenge final.It was a nervous wait for all three teams who made it to the final presentations before a panel of five judges – but it was Team Edu Kai who impressed and won an all-expenses paid trip to Niue Island to put their business plan into action.

The 21 Day Pacific Challenge asked students to present complete business plans to show how they could solve an issue/problem in an international community. Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ is a co-sponsor of the event.

Their challenge this year was:

To assist the Niuean community to conserve, protect and sustainably manage its food supply with a view to becoming self-sufficient with a $10,000 budget.

The challenge began back in May with 25 students put into 5 teams.  They had 21 days to work together and come up with the best plan for presentation.  The top three business plans were selected to go through to the final where judges would select the winning team at the final judging.

Team Edu Kai’s winning business proposal was to create a cook book of traditional Niuean recipes, set up the Taumafa (Eating) kitchen for the community using traditional cooking methods the formation of the Taumafa Development Committee to oversee the project and maintain its sustainability.

Pacific Islands Trade & Invest were one of the co-sponsors of the challenge and Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade was one of the judges at the final judging event.

All three teams delivered their 10 minute presentations and fielded questions from the judges.

However it was Team Edu Kai’s confident presentation and ability to field questions from the floor that won over the judges.

At the end of the presentations to the winning team, Vice Chancellor Dr Rod Carr congratulated all the students who had participated in the Challenge.

Dr Carr said the UC 21 Day Challenge was a learning curve not just for the participants but for the University itself as it was just the second year the University after kicking off last year with the winning team undertaking its project in the Philippines.

Vice Chancellor Dr Rod Carr gave everyone food for thought during his speech following the presentations.

Dr Carr said they were still learning as they go in running a contest with an unknown context but they wanted to make a difference in the community.  The motto for the challenge is “Changing the World – one community at a time.”

Social entrepreneurship was different he said.  The University knew how to teach students how to maximize profits and they had the departments to teach them how.  But the students had a lot to learn about the community and to have sense of respect for tradition and heritage and that context matters.  The University was also endeavouring not to be an Ivory Tower he said.  The University of Canterbury was alive and well and not merely perpetuating its old self.  Being part of the Pasifika community was being part of living in a multi-cultural society.   Staff were driven by their passion.  They were creating credible learning environment where students would continue participating in for decades to come and “standing up and standing out.”

He thanked the Niuean community for endorsing the university’s efforts in creating new ways to learn.  They had much to learn and they had only just begun he said.

For more information please email Eleanor Ikinofo at eleanor.i@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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