Te Aka Haumi o Tahu – whānau stories

Tēnā tātou e te whānau
Te Aka Haumi o Tahu is now live. A business directory for whānau by whānau. It is a boutique directory we want to grow like a kumara vine to promote our whānau businesses. Whilst the directory isn’t the yellow pages it is a boutique and unique experience. It was built by Ngāi Tahu for the iwi economy to thrive and for us all to bounce the dollar forward. We are on a mission to encourage as many whānau to register their business on our directory.

We are delighted to share with you our first blog series that profiles whānau businesses, The Sisters Consultancy and Maui Studios. We’ve worked with these whānau businesses and many more, to bring the dream alive – to walk the talk of bouncing the dollar forward.

We’ve been lucky enough to interview Co-Director of The Sisters, MP Mangakāhia to find out who she is, who The Sisters are and how they connect into Ngāi Tahu and Te Aka Haumi o Tahu.

Me: Who are you?
MP: My name is Mona-Pauline Mangakāhia or MP for short. I am the younger of two sisters and Co-Director of The Sisters Consultancy. I’m a new mum. I’m a businesswoman, I’m a thinker and a doer. There are a whole lot of things that make me, me.

Me: Who are The Sisters?
MP: Back in early 2016 my sister popped down to Wellington to visit, and I vividly remember, we were sitting in the foyer of the Māori Tourism building on Featherston Street in central Wellington having a catch up as sisters do. That is when my sister asked me if I wanted to work for her. I went away and thought about this idea, and it didn’t really resonate with me. Then a few weeks later my sister, called me again and proposed a business partnership to me instead. This was something I was much more interested in. My sister took me on this journey with the idea, it wasn’t just about starting a business it was much more than that. I could see it was about our whānau wellbeing and leaving a legacy for our mokopuna and their mokopuna. I wondered how this could work or what I could really contribute. As my sister talked more about the idea, I could see how our skills and experiences could contribute to a model of communications that I hadn’t really seen before. Back then, we didn’t even know we were going to be called The Sisters. So that was really the beginning of the journey for us, not knowing what we were going to call ourselves. Right at the beginning we had some amazing kōrero and wānanga about what we’d do. It started as a big beast of an idea a dream. We talked about empowering young wāhine. Then, my sister started talking to me about the proposition of creating an integrated communications consultancy and I said this was something I was really keen to consider. Over the last few years we have refined our business to focus on some core areas of our skills. We’ve had to let go of some of the things that we wanted to bring to life, like a café, and think more about what the customers want and need, so landed on strategy, communication solutions and creative marketing. These things we realised we have had years to refine and hone without even thinking about it. Something genuine, structurally strong and unique to offer to our customers.

Me: What is your connection to Ngāi Tahu?
MP: In our mother’s whakapapa it takes us back to Waharuhe and Poharama who connect us to both Takahanga and Mangamaunu.

Me: What is Te Aka Haumi o Tahu?
MP: I see Te Aka Haumi o Tahu as a tool and opportunity for Ngāi Tahu whānau to share the skills and strengths through the businesses they own. This is much the same for us, The Sisters, to share our skills and our business with Ngāi Tahu whānau. I feel that it’s about whānaungatanga, which is a really Māori way of connecting. When we think about how our tūpuna would have shared resources and skills, such as that person has manu and that person has ika and we would trade. This to me is a traditional and sustainable way of being, living and surviving. Our tūpuna were innovators. I see Te Aka Haumi o Tahu bringing innovation of our tūpuna into a 2019 context. That is what Te Aka Haumi o Tahu means to me.

Supporting whānau business is supporting wellbeing.

Me: How do you see the directory working?
MP: From a literal sense, I would hope that I could go into the directory looking for a product or service of some sort. I have tahu.biz saved on my bookmark on my browser. When I need to look for a service I need I want to be able to go into the directory to see if we have Ngāi Tahu whānau in the industries I need in the area I live or need the service as a first stop before I look wider.

Me: What message would you like to leave whānau with to think about?
MP: The message I want to leave whānau with is, like the reason we established The Sisters Consultancy, supporting whānau businesses is supporting wellbeing.

Come see Te Aka Haumi o Tahu at tahu.biz – let us know what you think. Our official launch date is 23 November 2019, at Hui-ā-Iwi.