The pick business ideas competition announces 2022 winners!


The pick business ideas competition announces 2022 winners!

Northland Inc’s Te Tai Tokerau business ideas competition, The Pick, announced its 2022 winners at the finale pitch event on Wednesday night (4 May, 2022).

The event, held at Whangārei’s OneOneSix theatre, saw the five finalists pitch their business ideas in front of a panel of experts made up of Te Tai Tokerau business leaders.

The two overall winners were Matenga Ashby’s PreHome, aiming to provide safe, warm, affordable housing through a full-service prefabricated rent-to-own home installation service, and Emily Kingi-Hepi’s Rongoa Wai Māori, an electrolyte drink which boosts health outcomes and reduces waste.

Ashby says he’s on a high from the win. “Winning has given me such a buzz. It feels like I’m already getting so much help and am building good momentum for the PreHome business. The Pick helped me build a business plan and get my financials in order, but the real highlight was the people. Getting to know the other participants and the support and awhi we provided each other during the programme was awesome.”

Delivered in partnership with The Orchard Business & Events Hub, Creative HQ and Callaghan Innovation, The Pick also welcomed Whāriki and Pākihiroa as programme partners in 2022 to provide additional support and networking for the programme participants.

Pākihiroa provided support for the Māori participants in the cohort through a Māori Navigator, Amiria Wallis, whose support Kingi-Hepi says was invaluable. “I found having Amiria’s support really valuable. She spoke in a language that I could understand and pushed me to complete my pitch. I don’t think I would have done it if it wasn’t for her!”

Northland Inc Growth Advisor David Templeton says the calibre of the finalists has been outstanding in 2022. “We’ve been thrilled with the variety and strength of the business ideas and participants which we’ve had through The Pick’22. With ideas ranging from software and technology concepts through to sustainable detergent, this year’s participants have shown incredible passion in bringing their business concept to life.”

“A strong theme of this year’s business ideas has been around sustainability and improving community outcomes. It is great to see this type of thinking coming through so strongly with our region’s entrepreneurs, and to have the opportunity to be a part of the journey towards making these ideas a reality”, says Templeton.

Joint Supreme Winner, Matenga Ashby.

Matenga Ashby - Prehome

2022The Pick Pitch Night Web030

Emily Kingi-Hepi, Rongoa Wai Māori.

While The Pick programme and pitch night provide valuable business support and networking opportunities in of themselves, the overall winners also receive a tailored business support package to help grow their business idea into fruition, in addition to a range of prizes including a weekend getaway package at the iconic Duke of Marlborough.

“Northland Inc has a dedicated five-year plan for our Te Tai Tokerau entrepreneurs and The Pick is the cornerstone programme for Northland. It is great seeing The Pick Business Ideas Competition once again generating outstanding business ideas which have the potential to improve outcomes for the region, and supporting our innovators, creators, and Taitokerau entrepreneurs in their journey to bringing these ideas to life”, says Templeton.

As for the winners, Kingi-Hepi says her phone has been ringing off the hook since the win, while Ashby too has been receiving offers of support. “I’m just keen to get stuck in and start doing the work now”, Ashby says.


Northland Inc - For further information, please contact:

Hannah Mackay – Communications Specialist
M: 021 1777 110


About PreHome 

The mission? To provide safe, warm, affordable housing with this full service prefabricated rent-to-own home installation service. The work doesn’t stop when the home is on site, PreHome supports tenants to develop their land, upgrade their lifestyle and build communities by providing know-how and connection to sustainable lifestyle solutions.  

Director Matenga Ashby gives thanks to ĀKAU, DreamTime Cabins, Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-Ō Ngāpuhi, Te Whakamanamai Trust, KairakauAwhi Ltd, Podlife, Sanson and Associates, Te Wā Housing Consortium, Isthmus, Te Kona, The Hub, Reliance Plumbing, Northern Signs, The Orchard & The Pick’22 crew,Get Better Problems, Amiria Ltd,Northland Inc, Creative HQ, Callaghan Innovation, Whāriki, Pākihiroa, Te Pai Roa Tika,BDO Accountants,Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park,Mentors and friends and many more! 

More information at  


About Rongoa Wai Māori 

Is this the Māori Gatorade? No, it is much more. In bringing to market a great tasting electrolyte drink, which boosts health outcomes and reduces waste, Emily Kingi-Hepi aims to knock sugary market leaders out of the shopping trolley. 

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