Māori business network Te Rōpū Pakihi has launched Hokohoko, a new website where hundreds of Māori businesses can sell their products and services online.
Currently featuring products from 23 businesses, ranging from jewellery makers, to restaurants, to printers, Hokohoko has room for up to 250 e-stores.
The majority of businesses on the site today are based in the Kāpiti Coast and Horowhenua region, but Te Rōpū Pakihihe has plans to work with neighbouring Māori business networks to support more Māori businesses in the coming weeks.
It’s also offering a business development program to those who list their products on the site.
“A distinctive element of this Mall is that the Network will wrap a business growth and development programme around the e-stores to support Māori business and local employment through the coming recession,” Daphne Luke, chair of Te Rōpū Pakihihe, said in a statement.
The idea for Hokohoko came out of the business network’s weekly virtual get-togethers during the lockdown, which revealed that many members didn’t have their own e-commerce site.
While Māori businesses around the country were promoting their products through Facebook and other social media, the sales transaction had to be completed manually through email.
Hokohoko makes it easy for businesses to list and sell their products online at a low cost.
The site was built by local e-commerce provider Storbie Limited and funded by George Reedy, chairman of Māori technology investment company Hautaki Limited.
Reedy sees Hokohoko as a pilot for more online malls.
“The next few years are going to really difficult for New Zealand businesses and we need to do everything we can to support our Māori businesses and Māori employment,” he said.