Naomi Hughes (Ngāti Maniapoto) is a co-founder, co-owner, managing director, lead editor, and programme manager at Aotahi Limited, a Te Kūiti-based, Māori business education company. Naomi co-owns Aotahi with founding director Miriana Stephens, who is also a director for Wakatū Incorporation and winner of the 2016 Aotearoa Māori Woman Business Leader award.
Aotahi specialises in the development and management of educational programmes in the areas of small business management and personal finance. The business’s current focus is on developing and delivering small business and personal finance programmes for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, which the directors of the company have done continuously since 2003. In addition to Aotahi, Naomi is a co-owner and co-director of Around Twelve Limited, an online business that sells shoes for people with larger feet.
Naomi has developed several business education programmes for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, including First Steps to Business (NZQA Level 2), the Certificate in Money Management (NZQA Level 3), Smart Steps to Business (NZQA Level 3), the Certificate in Small Business Management (NZQA Level 4), and the Certificate in Applied Small Business Growth and Development (NZQA Level 5). At present Naomi is developing two new programmes for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa: the Certificate in Small Business Management and Project Management (NZQA Level 4) and the Diploma in Small Business Management and Project Management (NZQA Level 5). She is also the primary author of the following published books:
- Aotahi Ltd. (2014). Taking Care of Business: A Guide to Entrepreneurship in Aotearoa, 4th Edition. Te Kuiti: Aotahi Ltd.
- Aotahi Ltd. (2012). Taking Care of Business: Business Terms in Aotearoa – He Papakupu Pākihi, 2nd Edition. Te Kuiti: Aotahi Ltd.
- Aotahi Ltd. (2008). Taking Care of Business: Indigenous Business Case Studies. Te Kuiti, New Zealand: Aotahi Ltd.
Naomi has trained all the facilitators for the programmes which Aotahi has developed for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. She has also personally taught the Certificate in Small Business Management programme at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, as well as having been an economics tutor at the University of Waikato during her studies.
Naomi holds a Bachelor of Management Studies with First Class Honours (Finance), a Graduate Diploma in Economics, and a Master of Management Studies with First Class Honours (Economics/Finance), both from the University of Waikato. In addition, Naomi holds a National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
Naomi is a co-owner and founding director of Aotahi (established in 2004), and a co-owner and founding director of Around Twelve Limited, an online shoe store (established in 2005). She also owns a number of rental properties and is currently a director for Te Kupenga o Maniapoto, the Asset Holding Company of Maniapoto under the Māori Fisheries Act 2004.
Through her various interests, Naomi has extensive contacts in the Māori business community. With the exception of some of the time she was at university in Hamilton, Naomi has lived in the King Country (Piopio and Te Kūiti) her entire life and therefore has a good relationship with her local community, as well as with the Maniapoto Trust Board. Naomi was also an active whānau member of her local kōhanga reo during the times her children attended.