Christchurch Maori Business Woman Shines In Book
Christchurch Maori Business Woman Shines In New Book
High profile Christchurch real estate entrepreneur Lynette McFadden says she’s shared her story for a new book about successful women in business in the hope it will show young Maori that anything is possible.
Mrs McFadden is a partner in Harcourts Gold, which operates four real estate agencies in Christchurch. Her story is told first up in Go Girl, Go – a collection of pieces profiling successful women in business.
“I came from a family that just has no business awareness. My parents are very traditional working class Maori – traditional role models. I was really driven in school, but without role models, I wasn’t sure where I was going. So I ended up nursing. Really, I wanted to study law, but it just seemed far too outrageous to even be considered.”
Lynette says that breaking out of that mindset and pushing the traditional boundaries can be hard for Maori – and especially for Maori women.
“More and more women are doing great things in business, but on the local business scene, Maori women are thin on the ground. It’s lonely – I’ve always thought that.”
“Throughout the rest of New Zealand, though, there’s a definite ground swell of Maori women doing well in business. You just need to pick up some of the business magazines, especially the ones targeted at women, to see that.”
Lynette says that Christchurch’s traditional, conservative reputation belies the reality of doing business here.
“How do I find being a Maori business woman in a town like this? Actually, kind of neat. I just feel great to be part of it. This city may be conservative, but it’s kind. To everyone’s credit, people just seem to be more and more accommodating.”
Lynette says there are “only a handful” of Maori real estate agents in Christchurch.
“I have one Maori woman working for us. She’s doing really, really well, and I’m extremely proud of what she’s achieved – she just picked up an award, actually.”
Lynette sees being a positive role model and mentoring young people as an important part of her ‘job’.
“I speak at local high schools and to groups, and hope they get the message that you don’t have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you don’t have to have parents that are doctors or lawyers. You can start with anything.”