Pimp My Ride, Pakipaki Packs: Rangatahi businesses fire up

By Herewini Waikato

Rangatahi Hustle Māori Entrepreneurial Wānanga is New Zealand’s first Māori youth business learning event, running over four days in Whakatane.

More than 30 rangatahi from Whakatane and surrounding communities have been learning all facets of becoming successful young Māori business owners in the future.  

The event was kicked off by Mataatua Movement, a rangatahi group established under Te Puna Ora O Mataatua (TPOOM) to make positive moves in Whakatane communities and empower their rangatahi to be guides for the future.

This was its first wānanga gathering of rangatahi to build their talents and nurture their whakaaro in entrepreneurship and starting their own pakihi/business.

The wānanga was run by Rebel Business School Aotearoa in partnership with Te Puna Ora o Mataatua Charitable Trust, Kōkiri@youngentnz Kiaora consultants, Te Roopu Wahine Māori Toko i te ora, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and Mataatua Movement.

One of the facilitators, Mere Faulkner-Tihi, is excited about the wānanga and the opportunity it presents for the youth of Whakatane. She says rangatahi face challenges every day and just to get them to this programme every day is good.

Business owners since 1800s

“I am very happy because they are here. Why, because they have shown up each and every day. That’s the first reason” Faulkner-Tihi says.

Rebel Business School Aotearoa principal Tony Henderson Newport says, "We have covered areas about business models, their value proposition, what is the product of their service, how they reach their customers and how they sell to their customers. And all of those things add real value to our rangatahi for life." 

The rangatahi have been learning about their ancestors and how they were successful businessmen and women, in areas such as the flax trade in the early 1800s, along with kaimoana and wheat and cattle.

The programme also aims to build confidence and know-how to do business and to help build pathways for their chosen business.

Aidan Wiremu of Ngāi Tūhoe descent called his team’s business ‘Pimp My Ride’. His business would put Māori designs on cars, vans and trucks and any transport.

Māori business economy $68b

“We just make it look nice, so they have pride and joy in their car. We forecast we will make a profit of $110,000 a year,” Wiremu says.

Te Ao Marama (Te Whānau a Āpanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa) says her team’s business is called Pakipaki Packs. She said it was like Happy Meals at McDonald’s. “What’s inside is food, learning tools and a toy. When the children receive their packs at school they will be settled to learn” Marama says. 

The teams intend turning their ideas into reality.

Latest estimates from economic consultancy BERL say the asset base of the Māori economy was worth $68.7 billion in 2018., with880 firms owned by Māori employers and 18,600 self-employed Māori.

Faulkner-Tihi’s hope is these enthusiastic young Māori business entrepreneurs take these newly earned business techniques and use them for the betterment of their whānau hapū and Iwi.

Next week these young business entrepreneurs will present their businesses to the Whakatane community.