Drive in NZ to encourage Pasifika entrepreneurs
There's a drive to improve the number of New Zealand's Pacifika business owners.
Only a tiny fraction of New Zealand's Pacific people run their own business but there's a drive to try and improve that figure.
Successful Maori and Pasifika entrepreneurs have teamed up to help others make the leap into becoming their own boss.
Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor report:
The 2013 census revealed only 1.6 percent of Pacific people own their own business.
The Wellington Pasifika Business Network has been running since November last year with the goal of helping grow Pasifika businesses in Wellington.
The Network's chairman, Paul Retimanu, says the group was keen to link up with Te Awe Wellington Maori Business Network which has been running since 1996.
PAUL RETIMANU: There have got a 100 business owners that are part of their network we are obviously just growing and I suppose part of it it helps us grow our numbers in the sense of us casting the net wider with people who have skin in the game. People who are in business themselves and can pretty much tell us those war stories, the tough times and the good times.
Mr Retimanu says the one-point-6 percent figure shows Pacific people are really behind compared to 12 percent of European New Zealanders owning their own business, and a 10 percent of both the Asian and Maori communities.
PAUL RETIMANU: There's a lot of different reasons for that obviously funding is one, our people don't necessarily have those funding we're second, third generation and haven't been able to build or create that wealth, there's a lot of our people who have fantastic ideas but don't know where to go to and how they can get it off the ground and hopefully these types of networks where we can get along side people who have done it will be able to help achieve that.
Circuit Systems Limited core business is the installation, servicing and maintenance of Access Control Systems, Close Circuit TV systems and alarms (intruder and fire/smoke) systems.
Luke Meredith, whose Samoan, is its managing director.
LUKE MEREDITH: We've got a lot of government organisations that we do work for but once we get them as a client and we service them and we provide those ongoing service with security.
Mr Meredith says when he and his business partners first started out there weren't many Pacific people in his line of work.
LUKE MEREDITH: In fact I was always intrigued when I saw a Pacific Islander in my industry, since then , you know we've been going for 24 years , since then I'm seeing a lot more.
He says of his 16 staff seven are Pacific and Maori. Wellington Pipelines is owned by Samoan James Fruean.
It employs 20 people and has been operating since 2001.
JAMES FRUEAN: Part of the market we are involved is in the infrastucture for different councils Wellington city council, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, working drainage projects, water replacements, things like that.
James Fruean says he loves what he does.
JAMES FRUEAN: I'm fortunate enough that I've found a scope of work that I'm passionate about and I enjoy and it's very rewarding.
The well known comedy duo, the Laughing Samoans, has been going for 13 years. Mele Wendt's husband Ete is one of the comedians. She says most people don't think about the performing arts as a business option.
MELE WENDT: Most people don't go into the performing arts because it's so tough to earn a living, which is true, but it's really good if us Pacific people have lots of good role models out there, lots of good examples of Pacific who are sort of different in different sectors who are being successful.
The patron of the Wellington Pasifika Business Network Luamanuvao Winnie Laban says eventually the group wants to branch out into the Pacific.
LUAMANUVAO WINNIE LABAN: One of the goals of the Pasifika biz network is to support Pacific people in business that reside in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
Luamanuvao says the aim is to spread the message that Pacific people can own their own business and be good employers.
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