Providing ways to link his employees to their Māori identity is part of a bigger dream Hone Tipene has for his people to break free from the impact colonisation has had on them.
“It’s important for me to lay the right foundations as what we want to achieve is legacy,” the founder of Tuarā Civil said.
Since moving back to Taranaki, Tipene has studied te reo Māori and renewed his links with his iwi, and by growing the Tuarā civil engineering business, he wanted to help others do the same.
“It’s about reconnecting all Māori with their mana motuhake and Māoritanga.”
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Tuarā, which offers civil construction, roading and concreting services, is based at its Katere Rd yard in New Plymouth and worked on jobs across the region.
Tipene is no stranger to running successful enterprises, after he experienced global commercial sales success with his portable hāngī kai cooker after the product was launched in 2014.
It was so successful he extended the rane to include a commercial sized cooker on its own custom built trailer.
Part of the kaupapa behind the Tuarā work philosophy was to provide ongoing support and assistance to each other as a whānau, Tipene said.
This included the team meeting for karakia before work each day, with the day coming to an end with a kōrero and embrace.
Tipene said this sense of whānaungatanga will only grow, along with the numbers of people employed at Tuarā.
Post the Covid-19 lockdown, the company had six employees. That figure is now 22, and Tipene said there were plans to double the workforce within the next 12 months.
One of the current employees of Tuarā had written a haka for the company, which was performed at its official launch on August 6.
The evening at the Plymouth International was attended by more than 100 invitees, including some of the region’s iwi leaders, and people from the business community.
Tipene said the haka was a way to bring the team together, but it was also designed to be a challenge to iwi entities and councils in the regions that Tuarā was “there for the mahi”.