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Dan Walker MALP, MBA

Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahinerangi, Tangahoe, Maniapoto, Ngā Rauru, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa

Cloud Technologist Business Leader

Dan Walker

For someone who left school without a qualification to his name, Dan Walker, has racked up some incredible achievements and he has even bigger plans ahead.

Dan, who is a cloud solutions executive at the global technology company Microsoft, Deputy Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui and Deputy Chair of the Māori Tourism Board, has just completed Massey University’s ground-breaking Master of Advanced Leadership Practice (MALP).

Academic success may have escaped him at high school, but an opportunity to get into technology while working at Dick Smith in Christchurch set his passion on fire and by 26 he was the National Commercial Manager. With new focus he got back in to studying completing a Diploma in Business and then a Master of Business Administration. He went on to senior positions at Noel Leemings and Samsung and in 2010 won the Young Māori Leader Award at the Aotearoa Māori Business Leader Awards.

Through all these successes Dan was very aware of the responsibility of leadership. “It’s a mantle handed down by my ancestors. There’s a reason I have these skills and I need to use them. I represent my ancestors and I do this for future generations”.

It was with this in mind that he took on the Master of Advanced Leadership Practice and found you need to know yourself before you can lead others.

“There are not many programmes out there that focus on the person inside as well as their academic and management skills. I really see this programme contributing to changing leadership in NZ because it focuses on the individual so much. It focuses on how we, as people, can challenge the status quo and challenge ourselves to be better leaders.”

Through the programme Dan has developed a framework, which could change the way we look at the digital world. Tikanga Māori ki te Ao Matihiko or Māori Values as a Framework for Digital Leadership addresses the problem of low engagement by Māori in the digital sector and proves embedding tikanga or Māori values and practises can boost engagement and achievement.

Dan says the research also uncovered a complete lack of values for the digital world globally. “The predominant driving force is the value of neoliberalism driven by commercialism and the 'profit motive'. The billion dollar American tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are the role models in the digital world.” He says implications around the development of artificial intelligence in the future are frightening. “Do we really want robots or AI software devoid of a value system?”

Dan says Māori could be the first culture in the world to formally define a value framework based on our tikanga for the digital world and that he says would be real digital leadership.

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