A whare of hope in Tairāwhiti

By Jessica Tyson

A new hub of businesses working under one roof in Tarāwhiti is taking an innovative approach in how they run to help empower people in the community.

Tāiki E opened three weeks ago and is home to 12 members of staff from seven businesses, working together in one whare. Two of the businesses are directed by husband and wife Cain Kerehoma and Renay Charteris.

“Ara, he whare hei whakakotahi iwi, hei whakakotahi tangata i roto i tō mātou hapori,”

"This is a home to unite iwi and people in this community," says Kerehoma.

Kerehoma and Charteris own Kiko Innovation and Kia Ora Consulting, which is a consulting agency working to support indigenous peoples around the world. The other businesses include Toha, Gizzy Local and Riposte.

Kerehoma says, as well as running their normal day-to-day business, each business has a priority to help the community. The work they do includes building sustainability within the environment and families living in Tairāwhiti. Some of the businesses also have a tuakana, teina mentoring programme.

One of their mentees is 19-year-old youth leader Alice Kibble, from Tairāwhiti Community Voice, who recently stood for council. She visits Tāiki E once a week to help plan her community projects.

“I come here to connect with the awesome networks that these guys are connected with and make action on the programs I'm working on with rangatahi in Tairāwhiti, she says.

“It's really given me confidence in myself to go on this journey. It's always quite nerve-racking going out there as a young person and trying to make a change. But it's given me the people behind me to make the change.”

Gibble says almost 40 per cent of the population in Gisborne are under 27 years of age. To ensure younger voices are heard, she is starting a new role as a youth liaison for the Electoral Commission to motivate rangatahi to vote.

“My goal personally is to see the youth of Gisborne empowered and I'd really like to represent them in the Gisborne District Council but I think with my impact residency it'd be awesome to create a youth hub and that's what we're ultimately working towards.”

Despite the challenges this town faces, Cain hopes Tāiki E will make a long-lasting impact.

"Ko tētahi whakaaro nui ki roto i te whare nei, he aha tō mātou ōhākī ki ngā mokopuna e heke mai. He aha ngā taonga e waihotia ana e tātou mō rātou. Koira ngā pātai nui.

"One of the major considerations in this house is the legacy we leave for our grandchildren, what gifts we leave for them. Those are the big questions."