One Rotorua wāhine is on the path to ensure all women succeed and it is taking her on a trip across the Pacific Ocean to Washington DC.

Teresa Tepania-Ashton (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa) will be attending the International Global Women in Management programme, a women's economic development workshop as chief executive of Māori Women's Development.

The four-week workshop is designed to empower women in the not-for-profit and civil society sectors with leadership, technical and professional skills.

She will also share learnings and international best practice which will help her help other women to fulfil their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities.


Tepania-Ashton said she was excited to see how others implemented programmes which supported the success of indigenous businesswomen and applying it in a New Zealand context.

"The programme is a fantastic opportunity to work with other women around the world who are supporting the economic advancements of women in their own communities and apply insights to specific models of practice for Māori women and their whānau.

"I believe one of the key ingredients for Māori wāhine succeeding in leadership today is having a strong support system, and I'm excited to be able to collaborate with other women leaders, who are sharing a similar pathway."

"Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei: refuse to let obstacles get in your way while striving to reach your goal."

Tepania-Ashton is the only New Zealand applicant selected to attend and is supported by the ExxonMobil foundation's women's economic opportunity initiative.

Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited (Mobil) lead country manager Andrew McNaught, who facilitated Tepania-Ashton's application, said Tepania-Ashton displayed an articulate insight into social enterprise and its natural alignment to te ao Māori.

"As the Māori economy continues to blossom, it makes sense to be supporting female business leaders who are at the forefront of embedding Māori-specific models of practice and are encouraging other women into business."