Māori-owned business giving back to their community in Tāmaki

By Marena Mane

Video courtesy of Tāmaki Regeneration Company (TRC)

Tippett Electrical is a 100% Māori owned business, based in the employment precinct of the Tāmaki community, which includes the suburbs of Glen Innes, Panmure and Point England.

Lance Tippett, along with his three younger brothers Leroy, Tahana and Danyon, of Ngāti Whakaue, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Pāoa me Ngāti Raukawa, decided to start their own electrical company in their community of Tāmaki to give back to their community.

“We started operating Tippett Electrical just before the first Covid lockdown occurred in Aotearoa,” says Lance.

“There was a lot of uncertainty as we had just given up our stable salaries. We remained unperturbed; instead using the four-week lockdown period to create an office at our parents’ home,” says Leroy.

The brothers' grandparents were among the first to settle in Glen Innes in the early 1960s, and all four brothers were raised in Mount Wellington alongside their parents.

Due to their strong connection to the community, the whānau of Ngāti Pāoa were rewarded with a street named in their honour, Tippett Street in Point England.

Photo credit: Tippett Electrical

Younger brother Danyon says, “As Tāmaki is now going through upgrading and rebuilding the community, we believe now is the time to engage work for the locals that positions them to move with the times.” 

The Tippett Whānau has strong ties to Glen Innes and has an appreciation of Tāmaki's past history, with the Treaty of Waitangi being signed at Karaka Bay in Glendowie.

They have two staff members who live in Glen Innes that are of Cook Island, Niuean and Tongan descent, and say they are keen to encourage local Māori and Pasifika people into the electrical trade.

Lance and Leroy felt they could make a go of it on their own after working their way up to management for another electrical firm in Auckland. They have over 20 years of experience in the electrical and data industries, as well as managing large and small projects.

Lance says, “Bit by bit we got a few leads, with support from family and friends and once you have work it sort of generates momentum and we were underway.”

Brothers in business together

After starting their own business and taking responsibility for their own work lives, their values as brothers have shifted dramatically, says Danyon.

“When we were employees, we were chasing the weekends but now we are chasing Monday to Friday and we just love working,” he says.

They've secured their direction with the help of the Amotai network, Aotearoa's supplier diversity intermediary tasked with connecting Māori and Pasifika-owned businesses with buyers seeking goods, services, and works. They've surrounded themselves with mentors who are amazing people and passionate about helping communities grow and prosper.

“We are starting to spend more time with our family which is something that has been the most rewarding about owning our own business,” says Danyon.

The brothers recently partnered with Tāmaki Regeneration Company (TRC) on their 'Awhi' campaign which promotes independent local businesses in Tāmaki (Glen Innes, Panmure, and Pt England).

TRC works to provide equitable outcomes for Māori and Pasifika communities through the Tāmaki regeneration programme, by working with Mana Whenua and partners on social, health, educational, and housing initiatives.

Photo Credit: Tāmaki Regeneration Company (TRC)

Te Ao Māori approach

According to Lance, their Te Ao Māori values are at the core of their service approach, which he says sets them apart from any other electrical companies out there.

“Principles of whanaungatanga, which emphasise the importance of building strong, trusting relationships are at the core of Tippett Electrical’s commitment to delivering successful results for our clients and their community,” he says.

Another of the company's values is Manaakitanga says Lance, which is the process of showing respect, generosity, and caring for others. 

“We completed all the electrical work at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi out West Auckland and wanted to give back to all the amazing teachers at the school.”

So the whānau company arranged for a large meal from a local hangi supplier to be delivered to the school and shared with all of the teachers in order to recognise all of the hard work they do every day to develop our future leaders.

“Deliver quality work and build long term relationships. Manaaki ngā tangata - ka tupu te iwi. Look after the people and the community will grow,” says Tahana.