Pakihi Māori feel the strain of lockdown

By Aroha Mane

Auckland and Waikato Māori businesses working in the areas of trades, hospitality, tourism and entertainment are feeling the impact of lockdown but those who have accessed contactless payment and e-commerce services have seen a rise in engagement.

It’s day 65 of lockdown and for many Māori businesses, the struggle is real.

“It’s our businesses that are relying on supplies from the Australian and Asian markets that are really suffering lengthy delays with their supplies,” Buy Māori Made founder Michelle Paki.

Paki says some Māori businesses aren’t able to operate, are backlogged and, if released from lockdown, will likely hit the busy summer season.

“It’s a tough road for our Auckland businesses, especially those in hospitality, our Māori tourism businesses but also entertainment. A lot of our bands aren’t able to secure gigs at the moment.”

Supply hurdles

“Our pakihi here in Waikato have shared with me that they're going to be sitting on projects for three months, simply because they can’t get supplies out of Auckland. It’s things like windows and frames that are really putting the handbrake on projects,”

Contactless payment and e-commerce have been instrumental to those who continue to operate.

“I’ve seen a huge surge in Māori businesses setting themselves up in the e-commerce and utilising programs like Whaariki and the Kao hao programs on at the moment. It’s awesome to see all these business and Māori entrepreneurs on Facebook showcasing their wares.”

For some entrepreneurs it’s helped them reconnect to their whakapapa.

“We have whānau who know they are Māori but they’re not quite sure about their whakapapa. We’ve got an awesome moderator who has Facebook wānanga with our whānau, so helping them to reconnect and putting them in touch with people who can give them good advice.”

Buy Māori Made plans to launch its website on October 30.