Māori-owned fish and chip shop to launch NFT project

By Mare Haimona-Riki

The co-founder of the popular fish and chips store Fush in Wigram, Christchurch, Anton Mathews, says the store has been open for five years, and now they are ready to expand.

"Over the next two years, we want to open four more stores,” Matthews says.

“We want to share our kaupapa with a wider community and provide more opportunities to employ more rangatahi in meaningful mahi.”

Opening a new Fush store will cost $400,000, so to raise that money, Mathews (Te Rarawa) is using his Māori ingenuity in a big way. by creating his own NFT project. 

“This NFT collection will be made up of 1000 unique non-fungible tokens, and these will be digital artworks designed by Jacob Yikes, who is also a well-known street artist and happens to be the same artist who has designed all of our artwork at Fush, from the beautiful murals that you see in our restaurant, to the artwork on our Fush waka.”

His devotion to te reo hasn't been forgotten either - in addition to their monetary value, each NFT investor will also receive a Digital Reo series hosted, by Mathews, who is a graduate of Te Pānekiretanga o Te Reo, the school of Māori language excellence.

“We're spending three days recording a whole bunch of lessons, and those lessons will be compiled to a digital resource that nobody has seen before, and will be available only to our NFT investors, and they can learn te reo Maori or, if they are already a proficient speaker, they can give it to someone who is on their reo journey.” 

He says the new stores will provide more employment opportunities for young Māori in Otautahi. 

“That's the impact, that we are able to provide opportunities where our rangatahi can come in, their language is celebrated and they are free to be who they are.” 

He aims to launch the NFT project by June this year.