Earlier this month whānau from Tāiki e! travelled to Pōneke and Tāmaki Makaurau to hold networking events and share information about the mahi of Tāiki e! These events were a chance to catch up ā-kanohi (in-person) with those who have supported us, as well as to broker new relationships and opportunities focused on generating a positive impact in Te Tairāwhiti.
‘This trip was all about reconnecting in person with friends and supporters of Tāiki e! and forging new relationships and opportunities’ says Tāiki e! whānau member Cherish Wilkinson.
“So much has happened in the last few months with Cyclone Gabrielle and flooding events. It was nice to visit the cities with some of our Tāiki e! whānau to share the kaupapa we’re focusing on to help move our community forward into a solution-making future” said Cherish.
“This is the first time Tāiki e! has done a roadshow visit to Tāmaki Makaurau and Pōneke. It allowed us to share our stories of why we each commit to showing up every day to collectively work towards positive social and environmental innovation through business and entrepreneurship.
“I moved home 4 years ago with my partner and baby after 12 years of building a career in marketing and communications. And then I noticed the mahi that Tāiki e! was doing in the community. I’ve never seen anything like it. They are such ‘doers’ and I love the fresh energy they bring to our community at home.”
The networking events gave the Tāiki e! whanau an opportunity to dive into some of the projects and initiatives they are leading and supporting including Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti (now running in its fifth year); Next Gen Tāiki e! (rangatahi entrepreneurship club); Pikup and Next Gen Escapes (youth-led social enterprise); Haututu Hack Lab (a new community Hack Lab in Tairāwhiti); and Tech Boot Camp and Internships.
‘Another highlight of the roadshow was being able to support other businesses’ said Cherish. The Tāiki e! whanau hosted events at the Sharesies Head Office in Wellington and Groove Bar in Auckland (owned by Tairāwhiti entrepreneur Bailey Mackey).
Tāiki e! whānau member Renay Charteris shares it was interesting to see the crossover of the different people that came along to the networking events.
“For me, it was a gift to see our friends and whānau meet each other. The fact that there were so many crossovers in everyone’s mahi. Some of them have never met before our event, even though they live in the same city. So, it was cool to see everyone build new connections and relationships”, said Renay.
“This was our first attempt at taking the aroha kaupapa with us beyond the safety net of our region.
“We ask a lot of others to go outside of their comfort zones because that is where the learning and growth happens, and you could almost say this trip was an attempt for us to take our aroha kaupapa purposely into other spaces to both challenge the status quo but in a warm and embracing kind of way.”
“Another highlight of the trip was staying with whānau in Wellington”, said Renay.
“You can always stay in a hotel but staying with whānau is a return back to the days of old when we used to stay with our extended whānau.”
Our Tāiki e! whānau member representing the Next Gen Tāiki e! rangatahi, Alice Kibble, shares that the biggest highlight from the roadshow is the positive feedback she received from the Aucklanders at the networking event.
“The Aucklanders enjoyed our energy and said it was a refreshing energy to what they are used to seeing at networking events”, said Alice.
“And even as a representative of Next Gen Tāiki e!, the amount of enthusiasm to support young people’s initiative was refreshing and kind of motivating because it felt like we could have an impact that was much bigger than Tairawhiti.
Alice shares that a highlight from the roadshow was the personal growth she experienced during the trip.
“It was an opportunity for me to put myself into an uncomfortable environment and network in a space that I wouldn’t normally find myself in, knowing I could put that to the side because I was representing Next Gen Taiki e. They were so supportive of my journey and startup.”
Building a vast network of whānau and supporters outside of the rohe (region) is a key strategy in helping us to develop our local innovation ecosystem in Te Tairāwhiti, and we look forward to holding future events and staying connected with other ecosystems around the motu.