A new online Māori mall Hokohoko is set to launch on Thursday to provide Māori businesses within Te Tai Hauāuru an opportunity to sell their products and services online.
It comes after members of the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Māori business network, Te Rōpū Pakihi, identified that many of their essential businesses didn’t have e-commerce facilities during the COVID-19 lockdown.
While Māori businesses around the country have promoted their products through social media, sales transactions have been completed manually through email.
Te Rōpū Pakihi chair Daphne Luke says the network will wrap a business growth and development programme around the e-stores to support Māori businesses and local employment through the coming recession.
Local IT specialist Ty Kahu approached e-commerce company Storbie Limited to help with the build.
Kahu says, “We realised that when you have a website, it's one website amongst millions of others and you have to drive traffic to that site on your own. The beauty of Hokohoko is that 250 e-stores will all drive consumers to the Mall where they’ll be able to see all of our products and services under the one roof.”
Hokohoko will take care of both the promotion and the sales transaction with no fuss and at very little cost with the added assurance that their property rights are protected. The website will potentially support up to 250 e-stores each with up to 500 products or services.
Te Puni Kōkiri has supported Te Rōpū Pakihi to engage an initial 23 business operators to develop their e-stores including headstone designers, jewellery makers, restaurants, bakers, carvers and printers.
The majority of these are based in Kāpiti and Horowhenua. In coming weeks Te Rōpū Pakihi will work with neighbouring Māori business networks to connect Māori businesses from the top of the South Island to Taranaki.
Chairman of Māori technology investment company Hautaki Limited, George Reedy, committed to funding the build.
“The next few years are going to really difficult for New Zealand businesses and we need to do everything we can to support our Māori businesses and Māori employment.”
The mall will be launched on Thursday May 28 at 8.30am.