3 Mar 2019

Small Business Shines at Te Matatini

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:05 pm on 3 March 2019
Nikky Kennedy, creator of her homeware designs, Taputapu.

Nikky Kennedy, creator of her homeware designs, Taputapu. Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Te Matatini attracts tens of thousands of spectators so it's an ideal platform for small business owners that reap the awards once it's over. In upwards of sixty thousand people filled the Wellington stadium over the four day event, which meant that stall holders ranging from food, fashion and jewellery got the chance to promote and sell their products. Homeware design is Nikki Kennedy’s passion, the ex-design student saw the kitchen space as a prime space for te reo Māori, with simple designs based on scrabble counters. It's a business she hopes to take global where other cultures who can adapt her designs to their own language.

Fashion designer Mitchell Vincent took the opportunity to dress Māori Television host Kahurangi Maxwell during the on-air coverage of Te Matatini, one of the dresses she wore had all but sold out. Some of his designs, which does not feature Māori patterns of symbols debuted at last year’s New Zealand Fashion week.

The Waikato based designer says it was fashion showcase Miromoda that gave him his big break.

Mitchell Vincent is a fashion designer who got his first break at the Miromoda fashion showcase

Mitchell Vincent is a fashion designer who got his first break at the Miromoda fashion showcase Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Ngai Tahu Pounamu have worked to counteract black market pounamu by introducing a stringent authentication scheme. Buyers are able to source information about the carver and where the pounamu was sourced, all thanks to a code.

Buyers can input a four to eight digit code back onto the website where it will tell them what stone the pounamu came from, the river it was sourced from, the carver and the meaning of the design. 

“Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu they worked with kaitiaki of the pounamu so they developed the scheme…the raw stone they sell to our registered carvers, that putea goes back to our marae.” she says.

Chantel Tumahai says Ngai Tahu Pounamu will develop QR codes as part of their authentication programme.

Chantel Tumahai says Ngai Tahu Pounamu will develop QR codes as part of their authentication programme. Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Chantel Tumahai says illegal taking of pounamu remains a problem and in some cases, imported jade is sold as authentic greenstone. The organisations trademark triangle symbol is attached to all Ngai Tahu Pounamu. Te Runanga o Ngāti Waewae and Te Runanga o Makaawhio are the two South island based hapū that manage the project, today Tahu Pounamau greenstone is stocked in 84 retail stores from Waitangi to Stewart Island.

“We’re the only scheme offering this kind of information…once we got ownership of pounamu back from the government we came up with a scheme to protect our tāonga.” she says

Sandy Morrison will carry on the work of Smearyourmea, the cervical campaign started by her daughter, Talei.

Sandy Morrison will carry on the work of Smearyourmea, the cervical campaign started by her daughter, Talei. Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Aside from business, a range of health services were on-site, one which included a smear station assisted by Sandy Morrison, whose daughter Talei died from cervical cancer in 2018. This year haka group Te Matārae i o Rehu dedicated their performance to Talei and Mina Mitai-Ngatai. Sandy says she will continue her daughters work.

“She wanted to make sure that her experience didn’t happen to anyone else and their whanau, so I’m here to carry on her work…they idea is that the service comes to the people, learn more about what’s involved, we’re encouraging everyone to please have your smear.” she says.