By: Mikaela Collins

Darcey Tipene-Boyd wows the crowd at the InnoNative Market with his singing and performance by the band Valet. Photo/John Stone

A Whangarei market which gave Maori businesses the chance to showcase their products was a “great success”, organisers say.

The InnoNative Market, an event designed to celebrate Maori in business, was held for the first time on Saturday drawing about 800 punters to Rayburn House Lane.

Auriole Ruka, general manager of Maori business transformation for He Puna Marama Trust – who organised the event, said it was a “great success”.

“We had Maori business that were able to showcase their artwork, their jewellery, their fashion design and labels. We had entrepreneurs like ta moko artists and mirimiri (massage). We had local musicians, some of them had never performed on a live stage before. The place was packed and our community came in droves,” she said.

Ms Ruka said there were about 85 stalls at the event and about 36 of them were new businesses – some of which had never showcased their products at an event before.

“During the day I got so much positive feedback. We know sales were made to invest back into the businesses. All of them are asking ‘When’s the next opportunity, are we doing it again?'”

The cost of booking a stall at the event was koha and Ms Ruka said this was important.

“We wanted to reduce the barriers, especially for new businesses, that prevent them from participating in these opportunities. For us it wasn’t about making any money, we just wanted to cover the costs. I guess it was kind of our kaupapa.”

Ms Ruka said there were also 20 business development groups that came and supported the day. These were organisations that could help the entrepreneurs with legal advice, insurance advice, and funding advice.

“It’s not just about the market day, it’s about building the capability of these businesses’ drive and growth, and consolidate what they want to do.”

Ms Ruka said the trust would now be seeking feedback from stallholders and the business development groups before deciding what to do next.

“We want to facilitate with Northland Inc, Chamber of Commerce, and The Orchard. We need to consolidate how we can be the bridge to what they offer, the programmes they’ve got so that our entrepreneurs, wherever they are in Northland, can also access their services and support.”

Source: Northern Advocate

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