15 Apr 2013

Maori to be encouraged to start their own business

6:45 am on 15 April 2013

The Department of Conservation is to trial a new scheme encouraging Northland Maori to start their own business.

The department has teamed with Te Tai Tokerau and national agencies to conduct two hui, Te Ao Pakihi.

The free events will feature inspirational Maori business leaders speaking about how they started out, including Hone Mihaka and Karleen Everitt.

Funding and support organisations will also be available to help Maori channel their ideas and entrepreneurial skills into businesses as well as three tertiary providers with information on long or short training courses.

If the trial proves successful it will be rolled out to the rest of the country.

The move is part of a major DoC restructure which includes the aim of working more directly with the community.

A DoC pou (teacher) says anecdotal evidence shows that people who live in affluent areas usually have their own environmental community group because they are not having to worry about such basics as putting food on the table.

Pou Tai Rangahau Aaron Taikato said unemployment is rife in Te Tai Tokerau as well as health and housing issues and Maori have told DoC that while it is fine to throw money at trees they are struggling to get by.

He said DoC hopes to encourage Maori to set up their own business ventures and then be able to focus on improving their environment.

The hui will take place in Kerikeri on Saturday, 20 April, and in Whangarei on 27 April.

Kai will be provided as well as a free bus service from Kaitaia to Kerikeri.