CIE » Newsroom » Student gives life to venture selling placenta planting packages

NEWSROOM

Student gives life to venture selling placenta planting packages

social media

4 June 2021

There are few moments more precious than when a family brings new life into the world. Business student Te Miringa Parkes’ new venture Ūkaipō aims to help families to celebrate the occasion through its leak-proof, biodegradable Rau Whenua placenta planting packages. 

Planting the placenta underneath a tree sapling following birth is a custom in many cultures, including Māori. Te Miringa explains “The placenta is like a baby’s earth. It protects, provides and gives nutrients to our babies whilst in the womb. The planting of the placenta is one way of honoring all that the placenta has provided for the baby and mum during pregnancy. This also symbolises the circle of life. In planting the placenta, life is given back to the earth, while also providing nutrients to the new life of a tree creating an everlasting connection between the family and the land.” In speaking to mothers and researching about the ritual, Te Miringa has discovered that mothers have also appreciated the custom as an opportunity to be grounded following the experience of birth, to create a shared memory through the act of planting and as a continued remembrance of the birth as the tree grows. 

Through Ūkaipō Te Miringa is bringing to life the vision of her mother, who has spent years researching the placenta burying practice. Traditional containers such as Uku (claypot) or Harakeke basket (flax basket) are inaccessible or hard to make. The construction of the Rau Whenua basket, of a particular cardboard with an inner membrane that breaks down, means that it is both home-compostable and freezer safe (as planting often happens a few months after birth). The package also contains kowhai or pohutukawa seeds, an information brochure with a guide to the placenta burying process and a Muka pito tie (natural alternative to plastic umbilical clamps).

Te Miringa entered the Velocity $100k Challenge, a business planning competition run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), in 2020 and placed second. It provided her with $5,000 seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator, worth $20,000. “Life changing is what I have to say about CIE. I’m so thankful for the generosity that the people in this space provide up and coming entrepreneurs. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by some incredible people who have undeniably shaped and directed my paths for Ūkaipō which I’ll forever be grateful for. I’ve also met other really amazing people such as those who work in CIE, other student entrepreneurs, and got to listen to some current entrepreneurs and their journeys.” 

Te Miringa says an important part of the experience of being in Velocity was hearing others’ confidence in her idea. “Our business is a very unique business and has a unique offering so competing in a world where it feels very techy and sometimes feels like you have to have this disruptive new tech idea to be big was daunting, but I learned through this that business is business. If there’s a gap in the market that you think you can fill and have a plan moving forward, you can do it. You can compete and create a viable business!”

Ūkaipō is Te Miringa’s second venture. She recently sold an events business she had been running for the last two years while studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce. Te Miringa says “I think I have always wanted to be in the space of entrepreneurship without knowing it was called entrepreneurship. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work for myself and I think that came from my mum who has worked for herself since I can remember. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I love the entrepreneurial space! I wake up thinking about working on my businesses, I talk to my partner about it all day, and I go to bed thinking about it.”

“The biggest lesson I think I’ve learned so far is that the entrepreneurial journey is one where you are forever learning. The world is always changing, customer behaviours are always changing, strategies and approaches are always changing so we will never have all the answers. We’ll forever be learning, pivoting, failing, and growing.”

Ūkaipō is now in a growth phase. Since winning a place in the Velocity $100k Challenge, Te Miringa and her partner have finished developing their product and e-commerce platform and are now in market. They have been networking with midwives and other birth communities and have recently exhibited at the Baby Show. Now, they are looking forward, with intentions of going global. Te Miringa says “The planting of the placenta is not only a custom practiced by Māori but an indigenous cultural practice all around the world. We’re currently looking at the global market and what this could look like for us. We have got a long journey ahead of us and are super excited for it!”

Velocity Team 2020
Velocity Team 2020

social media

4 June 2021

There are few moments more precious than when a family brings new life into the world. Business student Te Miringa Parkes’ new venture Ūkaipō aims to help families to celebrate the occasion through its leak-proof, biodegradable Rau Whenua placenta planting packages. 

Planting the placenta underneath a tree sapling following birth is a custom in many cultures, including Māori. Te Miringa explains “The placenta is like a baby’s earth. It protects, provides and gives nutrients to our babies whilst in the womb. The planting of the placenta is one way of honoring all that the placenta has provided for the baby and mum during pregnancy. This also symbolises the circle of life. In planting the placenta, life is given back to the earth, while also providing nutrients to the new life of a tree creating an everlasting connection between the family and the land.” In speaking to mothers and researching about the ritual, Te Miringa has discovered that mothers have also appreciated the custom as an opportunity to be grounded following the experience of birth, to create a shared memory through the act of planting and as a continued remembrance of the birth as the tree grows. 

Through Ūkaipō Te Miringa is bringing to life the vision of her mother, who has spent years researching the placenta burying practice. Traditional containers such as Uku (claypot) or Harakeke basket (flax basket) are inaccessible or hard to make. The construction of the Rau Whenua basket, of a particular cardboard with an inner membrane that breaks down, means that it is both home-compostable and freezer safe (as planting often happens a few months after birth). The package also contains kowhai or pohutukawa seeds, an information brochure with a guide to the placenta burying process and a Muka pito tie (natural alternative to plastic umbilical clamps).

Te Miringa entered the Velocity $100k Challenge, a business planning competition run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), in 2020 and placed second. It provided her with $5,000 seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator, worth $20,000. “Life changing is what I have to say about CIE. I’m so thankful for the generosity that the people in this space provide up and coming entrepreneurs. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by some incredible people who have undeniably shaped and directed my paths for Ūkaipō which I’ll forever be grateful for. I’ve also met other really amazing people such as those who work in CIE, other student entrepreneurs, and got to listen to some current entrepreneurs and their journeys.” 

Te Miringa says an important part of the experience of being in Velocity was hearing others’ confidence in her idea. “Our business is a very unique business and has a unique offering so competing in a world where it feels very techy and sometimes feels like you have to have this disruptive new tech idea to be big was daunting, but I learned through this that business is business. If there’s a gap in the market that you think you can fill and have a plan moving forward, you can do it. You can compete and create a viable business!”

Ūkaipō is Te Miringa’s second venture. She recently sold an events business she had been running for the last two years while studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce. Te Miringa says “I think I have always wanted to be in the space of entrepreneurship without knowing it was called entrepreneurship. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work for myself and I think that came from my mum who has worked for herself since I can remember. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I love the entrepreneurial space! I wake up thinking about working on my businesses, I talk to my partner about it all day, and I go to bed thinking about it.”

“The biggest lesson I think I’ve learned so far is that the entrepreneurial journey is one where you are forever learning. The world is always changing, customer behaviours are always changing, strategies and approaches are always changing so we will never have all the answers. We’ll forever be learning, pivoting, failing, and growing.”

Ūkaipō is now in a growth phase. Since winning a place in the Velocity $100k Challenge, Te Miringa and her partner have finished developing their product and e-commerce platform and are now in market. They have been networking with midwives and other birth communities and have recently exhibited at the Baby Show. Now, they are looking forward, with intentions of going global. Te Miringa says “The planting of the placenta is not only a custom practiced by Māori but an indigenous cultural practice all around the world. We’re currently looking at the global market and what this could look like for us. We have got a long journey ahead of us and are super excited for it!”


EMAIL
CIE@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ

PHONE
09 923 4526

NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

POSTAL ADDRESS
THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND BUSINESS SCHOOL
PRIVATE BAG 92019, AUCKLAND

 

 

 

WUNAPRUU21