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Award Helps Young Businessman Get Motoring

Media Release 13 August 2014

Award Helps Young Businessman Get Motoring

A 19-year-old entrepreneur from the Far North is going from strength to strength after winning an award acknowledging Maori business success.

Hirikia Murray-Halkyard was left beaming with pride when he was announced as a category winner at the recent Te Hiringa Tai Tokerau Maori Business Awards.

Hirikia, from Awanui, owns and runs executive chauffeur-driven car firm, Exec Transport Ltd. He won the Rangatahi (Youth) Development Award, sponsored by NorthTec and MediaWorks. The prize gives him nearly $5000 worth of advertising with MediaWorks, which he will use to promote his business.

Hirikia is also a former NorthTec student, who has undertaken courses in automotive studies and business administration and computing. Both programmes helped him prepare for the opportunity to run his own transport business.

Exec Transport provides VIP and corporate travel from Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Whangarei airports. Hirikia employs three full-time drivers – two of them his brothers – and operates four or five vehicles at any time. He buys prestige cars like Chryslers and Ford Falcons, operates them for a few months and then sells them on and replaces them with newer vehicles.

Hirikia says business is booming and he has plans to expand throughout the North Island.

He said: “I was pretty stoked about winning the award, and I was really surprised as I didn’t expect it. I started the business three years ago and I did all the planning and everything. It was really nice to get the recognition of this award.”

Hirikia attended Te Rangi Aniwaniwa in Kaitaia, and while still at school the budding entrepreneur enrolled in STAR (Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource) courses at NorthTec’s Kaitaia campus. The courses for students in years 11 to 13 are designed to give them a taster of various industries. Hirikia completed a STAR automotive course in 2009, before heading to Australia to work in retail and build up a savings fund.

After a short period of being undecided about his future direction, he spotted a gap in the executive travel market and decided to take the plunge. He said: “I sold my boy racer car and bought my first fleet car. Then I bought more cars using my savings and it just took off.”

Realising he knew little about running a business, Hirikia signed up for a 36-week course in business administration and computing, again at NorthTec’s Kaitaia campus. He said: “I needed to learn how to do invoicing and all that sort of thing. I learned everything I needed to run a business – the course was really helpful and the tutors were great.”

Now Hirikia is so busy with his successful business that he calls on his mother to help with invoicing and administration at the weekends, his father helps with vehicle maintenance, and he employs friends to clean the cars. He credits his family for helping him achieve, and hopes to employ more people locally as his business expands.

Hirikia says his friends, who were at first “a bit awkward” about his business acumen, are now “blown away” with what he has achieved. He recently helped one of his friends start a sober driver shuttle business, and now tells all his mates that “anything is possible – you can do it if you really try.”

Note to editors:

The Te Hiringa awards recognise and honour positive Maori enterprise and achievements. The awards were presented at a dinner in July at Forum North in Whangarei.


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