Māori power company's goal to leave no whānau behind

By Regan Paranihi

Māori power company, Nau Mai Ra, have been turning a negative situation into a positive outcome for vulnerable whānau during this unprecedented time with their approach of 'No Whānau gets left behind'.

CEO, Ezra Hirawani (Ngāti Hako, Waikato-Tainui), says with the amount of unemployment spiking as well as the power bill, he and his team wanted to find a way to help ease the pressure on those in need.

"When COVID-19 and the force of lockdown came, we didn't really have a lot of time to prepare ourselves for what was going ahead but the difference about this challenge is that it didn't as much affect us as an internal company but it's going to affect the whānau that we support."

Hirawani continues, "We said to ourselves if there's anything that we can achieve in this period is that no whānau gets left behind."

When the force of lockdown began Nau Mai Ra were committed to supporting their clients by any means necessary.

"We were going to be expecting a whole lot of whanau who couldn't afford to pay their power bill and that was our one goal no whanau gets left behind, we're not going to disconnect anyone from their power supply and that we are going to support them no matter what in the time that they need us the most," says Hirawani.

Their power line has been welcoming whanau members who needed their utmost support.

"That's a behaviour that we want to encourage we can help you if you korero with us if you talk to us ."

Hirawani also adds, "We've been able to make plans with each individual whanau on how they are going to manage their power supply and what they're using and how they can still keep their whanau warm during this time."

Clients also had an input as to where their money would be best invested in during the pandemic.

"78% of the whanau that voted on the poll all said we wanted to support vulnerable whanau ."

Covid-19 has also opened another door to other employment opportunities that can and will benefit vulnerable whānau.

"We want to be hiring our tamariki we want to be hiring our mokopuna we want to be supporting our whanau and Covid-19 has helped us to be able to do that."

He also says, "The whole whakaaro of what we're trying to do here is Te Ora o te Whānau, what are we doing to increase the well-being and sustainability of our whanau and our people."

The national power provider has launched a new service in Wellington and they are committed to work with whānau members to overcome the after affects of Covid-19.