National | Business

Maketū business support initiative goes nationwide

Source / Facebook

Since starting the 'Tautoko' Facebook group to support Te Arawa businesses, the kaupapa has spread nationwide. There are now Tautoko Facebook groups for Tai Tokerau, Te Moana a Toi, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, and Tai Hauāuru. Rawiri Bhana, creator of the original Tautoko group says that Māori businesses are experienced unseen growth as a result.

“They’ve messaged me personally to just say thank you. They’ve picked up business that they never had before."

Many businesses have yet to use social media. So Bhana has been able to use the group to showcase businesses that social media would otherwise never see.

“People are still everyday messaging me saying ‘Can you put our business up?’ and it was businesses that I didn’t even realise that we were doing,” Bhana says.

Local radio has taken up the cause as well. Te Arawa FM have been using the Tautoko group to identify Māori businesses and contacting them for interviews.

“Te Arawa FM have seen the page (group) too and what they’re doing now is profiling two or three of our Māori businesses a week,” Bhana says.

Source / Facebook

Supporting businesses creates jobs

Tautoko is not only a place where people can find local businesses. A local tiler, and a local bricklayer business used the group to find some new kaimahi.

“They’ve been able to hire extra hands instead of going to Tradestaff,” Bhana says.

Talks are now in place for iwi business ventures to use the group to do the same.

Bhana, who counts himself as fortunate to have a job in Civil Defence receives no remuneration for this mahi. He explains the power behind creating regional groups instead of one national giant.

“Someone said ‘You should all just fall into one’. But I think there’s too much noise there.

“You’d get lost in lost in a thousand businesses and go ‘I can’t be bothered having a look’.

“Whereas everyone that jumps on my Tautoko page knows that everything there is ‘Mai Maketū ki Tongariro’."

Keeping it local, Bhana says is key. When people are able to travel outside of their own regions, he adds that they will be able to use the Tautoko groups to find goods and services at their destinations as well.

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