Poipoia te kākano: Cadetships unearth potential of budding Māori entrepreneurs

The Cadetship programme provides a proven avenue for Māori of all ages to gain skills and to progress into higher paid, more senior roles.

Published: Tuesday, 28 November 2023 | Rātū, 28 Whiringa ā-rangi, 2023

Māori business He Putiputi Flora & Foliage, Carterton, has not only grown since taking on cadets but also unearthed the potential of budding Māori entrepreneurs.

After just a couple of years in the business, the two cadets are now looking ahead and are keen to establish their own Māori businesses.

Business owner Narida Hooper established her business in 2017. Being true to her whakapapa and culture, the business was established with mātauranga Māori at its heart. It’s this alignment which Narida believes has unlocked the business’ success.

“When I had my florist shop in Martinborough, customers would visit and feel at one with the beauty, calm and authenticity of the space,” said Narida.

“My te ao Māori values, combined with my environmental and social values of locally sourced, organically grown and sustainably packaged and delivered has resulted in customers sensing the importance of Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother.”

At a time when Narida was doing all the mahi herself, which wasn’t sustainable long-term, a friend referred her to the Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetship programme.

In 2021, Narida onboarded one cadet, and then another. Not only did the business take off, but so did the cadets. The cadets, one with marketing and business experience, and the other a school leaver and a natural creative, implemented smart marketing campaigns. They improved the business’ ecommerce capability and sustainability practices.

One of the cadet’s journey has been at Te Wānanga O Raukawa, Ōtaki, studying te reo me ōna tikanga while the other attended leadership coaching with performance psychologist David Galbraith. Bringing life habits used by Olympians to the business has inspired the cadets to now make their own way as Māori entrepreneurs.

The sense of satisfaction for Narida is palpable. She believes Māori business ownership can provide opportunities for Māori to be authentic to te ao Māori, support innovation and grow the Māori economy.

The Cadetship programme provides a proven avenue for Māori of all ages to gain skills and to progress into higher paid, more senior roles. It can also enable them to become leaders in and beyond the workplace. The flexibility of the Cadetship programme to support kaimahi of wide-ranging ages, skills and seniority levels, is a strength that provides opportunities to support the Māori workforce.

Over 400 employers have participated in the programme since it commenced in 2010 with 75 percent being Māori-owned.

The programme supports the Government’s overarching Māori Employment Action Plan – Te Mahere Whai Mahi by supporting Māori to have skills and knowledge to lead and succeed, to thrive in workplaces, and for Māori to be leaders in future-focused and sustainable sectors.

Read more about Cadetships here. Te Puni Kōkiri kaimahi at regional offices are available to talk about the programme and offer advice on how businesses can be involved. Click here to find an office near you.