The idea was developed after members of Te Rōpū Pakihi, the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Māori business network, met weekly online during lockdown and identified that many of their businesses didn’t have e-commerce facilities.
Te Puni Kōkiri supported Te Rōpū Pakihi to assist an initial 23 business operators to develop their e-stores for the www.hokohoko.maori.nz launch and with a business development programme. Businesses range from headstone designers to jewellery makers and from restaurants and bakers to carvers and printers.
Most current Hokohkoko businesses are from Kāpiti and Horowhenua but Te Rōpū Pakihi will work with neighbouring Māori business networks to connect Māori businesses from the top of the South Island to Taranaki over the coming weeks.
Te Rōpū Pakihi Chair, Daphne Luke, says Hokohoko can support up to 250 e-stores, supplying around 500 products or services for purchase online.
“A distinctive element of the Māori mall is that the network will wrap a business growth and development programme around the e-stores to support Māori business and local employment through the expected recession,” she says.
While Māori businesses already promote their products through Facebook, the sales transaction is completed manually. Hokohoko takes care of both the promotion and the sales transaction at very little cost, plus individual businesses can all drive traffic to the Māori mall.
George Reedy, Chairman of Māori technology investment company, Hautaki Limited, has committed to fund the website build.
“The next few years are going to be really difficult for New Zealand businesses and we need to do everything we can to support our Māori businesses and Māori employment. Hautaki sees Hokohoko as a pilot and we will now go on to work with other regions to establish their own online malls,” he says.