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Northland boosted by 'InnoNative Economy'

More and more SME’s and indigenous sole traders in Northland are plugging into the ‘InnoNative economy’ – a term first coined by He Puna Marama Trust 3 years ago.

The collective collab model stretches across all sorts of indigenous entrepreneurial activity ranging from retail, organic agriculture and unique tourism experiences.

“We have big dreams yet we don’t want to do it as a corporate conglomerate but as lots of whānau groupings - that’s the power of what we think of as the InnoNative economy,” says Raewyn Tipene, Chief Executive of He Puna Marama Trust.

Tomorrow the ‘InnoNative Market’ - the key event on the annual calendar of the InnoNative Economy is on in Whangārei from 10am - 3pm.

Nearly 80 vendors have registered to showcase their cultural capital and innovation in the form of hand-made, unique products and services with a native twist.

Early Christmas shoppers will have their pick of taonga, jewellery, poi, korowai, tees, baby wear, pōtae, kite, stationery, artwork, journals, rongoā, candles, bees wax wraps, herbal teas, kai stalls, a dedicated digi-tech space, children’s activities and lots more.

The cooperative collective model is focused on creating niche opportunities for local entrepreneurs to get into business and grow in a low risk supportive environment.

“We don’t buy into this idea that we must have ‘a job’ or ‘a business’ or ‘a million dollar idea’ to be in business,” Tipene says.

“Actually with the resources available to us as Māori combined with a little ingenuity, you can make small economic gains without having to put everything at risk.”

She says the Trust realises not everyone has the resources starting out so it helps create platforms and events like the InnoNative Market and Pop-Up shop that produce multiple income streams for vendors that are at a level and pace that suit their preferred level of involvement.

Given small businesses make up 97 per cent of all businesses in New Zealand, account for 29 per cent of employment, and contribute over a quarter (28 per cent) of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP), the InnoNative economy venture is snowballing locally.

“If we work closely together in a collaborative way we can bring in more together,” Tipene says.

Holding the Market on 28 October is significant for the Trust as the day marks He Whakaputanga o Nui Tirini - the Declaration of Independence signed by the Northland tribes

“It’s a date that symbolises our desire to continually define our independence.”

The signing was a statement in sovereignty, self-determination, reaffirmed tikanga Māori and Māori concepts of power and decision-making.

Those same values are embodied by the burgeoning Market believes the Chief Executive.

“For me it’s humbling to see how many people selling both through the InnoNative Market and Pop-Up store do so to buy their kids their uniform or pay for their trips and all the rest of it,” she says.

The Market will be the launch pad of NGEN 2020 – introducing 16-24 years olds to the digital tech sector while playing host to a digi-tech hub featuring virtual reality, streaming, and gaming.

The InnoNative economy also manages Kaianuku Organics cooperative that works with under-utilised Māori landowners to grow organic produce for supply to an increasingly discerning customer and developing an indigenous tourism platform, NativeXP which are all collaborations.

On Friday it also launched its new quarterly lifestyle magazine, Tahi.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/innonativemarket and https://www.innonativemarket.co.nz/about-us

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