A covid pivot creates new business opportunity

Whatu Creative teaches the art of Tukutuku through contemporary DIY craft kits.

NINC Whatu Creative 009

Awhina Murupaenga (Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi)) started her family business Whatu Creative Ltd, to promote Māori arts in Te Hiku. Their first product is the "Tukutuku Toi Kit", an innovative and contemporary take on the traditional craft kit that teaches the traditional Māori artform of Tukutuku.

“I am committed to growing my business and expanding into overseas markets. I want to show young Māori that they can set and achieve their goals from here”. ~ Awhina

 Awhina moved north 8 years ago to manage Te Whare Whiri Toi art gallery at Roma Marae in Ahipara. She is an inspiring young wahine with a real passion for revitalising mahi toi while also contributing to the effort to grow matauranga Māori (knowledge) and te reo Māori.

She initially registered her company Whatu Creative to deliver events to build opportunities for local people to build on their creative abilities and further support the retention of traditional toi Māori practices.

NINC Whatu Creative 018

Booklets for planning patterns.

 Then Covid happened! So instead of delivering focussed in-person events, she switched her attention to selling the mahi toi kits she had put together as a DIY craft kit instead. She put a post on her Instagram with a Google form to take orders and had sold out in 1 hour!

“Growing a business can be really lonely. The best part of working with Northland Inc is the support and connections I get through my regular kōrero with Emma”. ~ Awhina

NINC Whatu Creative 003

Growth Advisor Emma Rankin and Awhina discuss what's next for her business.

It’s been a whirlwind of activity for Awhina since then as she grows the business to capitalise on her early success. When Awhina connected with Northland Inc Growth Advisor Emma Rankin last year, she was keen to find out what opportunities were available to help her grow her business. Emma put her in touch with several opportunities and helped her navigate her way through applying for Regional Business Partnership pūtea to part-fund business planning assistance via her local accountant.

 Her next steps will be to work on streamlining their shipping systems, open up to the US and then on to world-wide distribution. Emma says that “Awhina is an inspiring and very down-to-earth wahine.  I am looking forward to being able to tautoko her through her next steps so her business is well organised for future growth”.

Visit Whatu Creative website

NINC Whatu Creative 016