While working as a personal chef, Sheryn Munro of Ngāti Whanaunga decided it was time to start her own business. With encouragement from her employer and support from her father Norm, who was also a chef, she started her catering company, Cre8tering Ltd.

Sheryn trained at Waikato Polytechnic and has more than 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Since Cre8tering Ltd opened in June 2006, the company has gone from strength to strength.

As Cre8tering was establishing itself in Te Awamutu, Sheryn approached Te Puni Kōkiri’s Business Facilitation Service to further grow her business. “I have found the mentor service invaluable. I was able to sit down and set goals,” says Sheryn. “Just having someone independent to talk to and bounce ideas off about my business was fantastic,” she says.

In May 2007 her business secured the Cambridge Raceway catering contract, which includes catering for more than 7,000 people for New Zealand’s richest harness race during Queen’s Birthday weekend.

But it hasn’t always been an easy road for this young mum, as her father passed away suddenly last year. “My dad was the inspiration behind my business and until he passed away he was helping me,” says Sheryn. Norm was scheduled to work at the raceway for a meet the weekend after he passed away. “It was amazing and overwhelming that weekend. The whole whānau came to pitch in and I guess it was Dad’s way of saying that you’ll be alright,” she says.

Norm was great at making relishes and chutney, which he taught her, and now Sheryn is looking at making relishes and chutney for the catering and restaurant markets.

“If there is any advice that I could give anyone thinking of setting up their own business, it would be to do your homework, set goals and take things step by step,” says Sheryn.