Largest poi manufacturer run by 14-year-old and whānau

By Mare Haimona-Riki

What began two years ago as a fundraiser, is now a thriving business that's committed to revitalising all things Māori and taking care of the environment.

“We go locally and source our materials from op shops and second-hand shops," Georgia Latu says.

“My uncle works in textiles and he knows what to use and what not to use in terms of plastic that is biodegradable,” she says.

The whanau started its business at home, making everything by hand until the move to Cargill Enterprisesallowng the hire of special needs employees to help with the production of their products.

Mum Anna Tiatia Fa’atosse Latu says that at the time, such employees were getting only $2.50 an hour – a policy that she didn’t support and demanded that they allow them to be paid at least minimum wage.

“Who pays anyone $2.50 an hour? That’s crazy!”

“We don’t even like the word disability, we prefer diverse-ability,”  she says.