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Jul 23, 2018

Success of iwi's business network gathering underlines potential for Māori business

Hāwera High School Young Enterprise Scheme students Madison Ropiha and Aleesha Veal sold plenty of their bathroom products at a Taranaki Māori Business Network event hosted by Te Korowai o Ngāruahine.


A Māori business networking evening hosted by Ngaruahine this week just scratched the surface of the potential for Māori business, its general manager says.

Te Korowai o Ngāruahine hosted an event for he toronga pākiki ki Taranaki (the Taranaki Māori Business Network), for the first time on Thursday evening in Hāwera.

"Seventy people from all walks of business, Māori and non-Māori came, the common denominator was celebrating Taranaki business," pouhautū (general manager) Allie Hemara-Wahanui said.

The BA5-style evening gave business owners an opportunity to display their businesses to others.

"We were only scratching the surface in terms of other Ngaruahine whanau who run their own businesses. It will be a fantastic exercise to understand the depth of this," she said.

"There was a real buzz throughout the evening. The businesses that supported the event were really glad they came. People who work just put their heads down and work, and these networks allow them to stop, to showcase to others what they are doing and what they do."

Nine businesses run by Te Korowai whanau set up stalls at the evening, including a very popular coffee cart run by Angela Kerehoma, the Dawson Falls ​Mountain Lodge and two students from Hāwera High School's young enterprise scheme selling bathroom products.

"This is a network and it requires effort and energy for that network to live. Having people from different generations connecting, other people with experience will hopefully plant some really good seeds for a strong Taranaki and Taranaki Māori business community," she said.

"Whanau is really important to us so we saw it as an opportunity not just to introduce our organisation to the rest of the network but also introduce some of the members of the Ngaruahine whanau who are running their own businesses. Usually a BA5 is just about business but it is really hard for us to be exclusively about business because we're such a holistic and collective community."

The young enterprise scheme students benefited from more than just their sales success, Roena Ruakere-TeUira, of Te Puni Kokiri, said.

"Supporting businesses to grow includes supporting rangatahi and events like these inspire and encourage them to dream big."

Hāwera High School youth enterprise coordinator Diana Reid said the scheme helped students learn about team work, communications and customer service.

The Taranaki Māori Business Network is coordinated by Venture Taranaki and Te Puni Kōkiri, which asked Te Korowhai to host an event.

The nationwide Māori business economy was estimated to be worth $42.6billion in 2013 in a report by BERL for Te Puni Kokiri.636153211