New iwi business finds work for 220 locals since opening

About 400 people gathered at the War Memorial Hall in Whanganui on Saturday evening for the inaugural Te Manu Atatū Māori Business Awards.

Published: Sunday, 2 July 2017 | Rātapu, 02 Hōngongoi, 2017

The first event of its kind in Whanganui, Te Manu Atatū chair Pahia Turia said the night was about acknowledging and celebrating where Māori businesses are today.

“You have survived, you have endured the challenges and tonight we salute you,” he said.

Mr Turia said Māori business spans across 30 industries in the wider region, from sole operators to large-scale employers.

“I am proud to be part of an evening that brings our community together to support Māori businesses.”

Newcomers Ruapehu Recruitment were shocked to take out the Māori Rising Star award for Best New and Emerging Māori Enterprise.

Ngāti Rangi Trust spokesperson Che Wilson said he was full of emotion to win the award.

He told the crowd that many of his people thought that they were unemployed because they were not good enough for the jobs and many were moving away from home to secure work.

“The heart cries,” he said.

“These are real people. Real families.”

However, since opening in February 2015, the Ngāti Rangi owned service has achieved over 220 employment outcomes, equating to over $5.5 million in income to local whanau.

The new enterprise also offers subsidised and sometimes free training to upskill locals.

“The wairua sings because you have truly helped not just the person but the family,” he said.

People travelled from across the wider region to attend the prestigious awards ceremony, with Silks Audit Chartered Accountants from Whanganui taking the top accolades of the evening.

The firm has served the regional community since 1904 and it continues to go from strength to strength, working with Māori businesses, iwi organisations, fisheries and many more sectors.

In the past five years, new clients have driven its financial performance up with revenue increasing by approximately 20 percent in that time.

Silks employs 15 members of staff, including five qualified Chartered Accountants – with that number set to increase to eight in the next 12 months.

Tonight, it walked away with not only the award for Best Māori Business – Service & Trade, but it also took out the Most Outstanding Established Māori Business Award and the Te Manu Atatū Supreme Business Award.

Partner Talia Anderson Town said she had not prepared enough speeches for the three awards the firm had won, but the team was grateful and honoured.

“Thank you so much for this supreme award, we are truly honoured,” she said.

“A lot of our staff are Māori and a lot of our clients are Māori too so it is just great to be seen as part of this.”

Partner Cameron Town, her husband, said the real winners were those who had come together for the evening.

The Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre took out the Environmental Excellence Award.

Trust chair Ken Mair said that since opening in 2013, the centre has recycled 10 million tonnes of items in Whanganui - making it one of the best environmental centres in the country.

See a full list of categories and winners below:

  • Best Māori Business – Tourism & Hospitality: Carolines Boatshed Bar & Eater
    • Highly commended – New World Ohakune
  • Best Māori Business – Service & Trade: Silks Audit Chartered Accountants
    • Highly commended – Appliance Repair Care
    • Highly commended – Rivercity Tree Service
  • Best Māori Business – Technology & Innovation: Appliance Repair Care
  • Māori Rising Star – Best Emerging & New Māori Enterprise: Ruapehu Recruitment
  • Most Outstanding Established Māori Business: Silks Audit Chartered Accountants
  • Most Community Minded Māori Business: New World Ohakune
    • Highly commended – Ruapehu Recruitment
  • Environmental Excellence Award: Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre
  • Te Manu Atatū Supreme Business Award: Silks Audit Chartered Accountants


Leigh Marama McLachlan
Senior Advisor, Communications
04 819 6284