Impact Hub Waikato: Empowering indigenous entrepreneurs
In a town grappling with economic challenges and social disparities, Impact Hub Waikato is committed to fostering indigenous entrepreneurship and creativity. Their success story serves as a powerful reminder that even in the toughest of circumstances, communities can thrive and individuals can flourish when they are empowered to unleash their creative potential.
Nestled in the heart of Tokoroa, Impact Hub Waikato thrives, fostering a vibrant and diverse community that gives the town its unique character. Tokoroa’s cultural tapestry interweaves the indigenous Maori, the Raukawa tribe, rooted in this land for centuries, and a vibrant Pacific community, including Samoan, Cook Island, Tongan, Fijian, and other Islanders, who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s for forestry work.
Discovering potential amidst economic hardship
Though brimming with character, Tokoroa faces the stark reality of being one of New Zealand’s most economically disadvantaged regions, with a staggering 74% of its population grappling with Q5 deprivation – representing 20% of the country’s most economically challenged when considering income, education, and employment.
Yet, amidst these challenges, Impact Hub Waikato recognises the potential of entrepreneurship and creativity in alleviating deprivation, offering hope, creating new income streams, generating opportunities, and enhancing overall well-being. With a passionate focus on empowering Maori and Pacific entrepreneurs, their programmes have propelled over 20 indigenous business leaders through various stages of success.
Indigenous creatives on the rise
The Co-Creatives programme has been a huge catalyst for sparking the growth of creativity in Tokoroa. It has birthed a tight-knit community of creative entrepreneurs who share a deep bond and who consistently offer mutual support. Remarkably, the programme has delivered tangible outcomes, including a 12% boost in participants’ well-being across both cohorts. Among their achievements is the co-created music video “He Kakano Ahau,” orchestrated by the second cohort and led by the remarkable Faiumu Matthew Salapu, known as Anonymouz.
The programme itself combines modules focused on artistic enhancement and entrepreneurial support, employing both online and in-person learning methods. Notably, successful Maori and Pacific artists and facilitators from various parts of New Zealand were brought to Tokoroa, where they collaborated with the cohorts to bolster their capabilities, confidence, and networks. This initiative has empowered individuals with a passion for indigenous art forms to thrive, resulting in the creation of vibrant street art and uplifting digital assets that have enriched the community.
Impact Hub Waikato stands as a testament to resilience and community spirit. By embracing innovation and creativity, this hub has emerged as a beacon of hope. It is a demonstration of how the human spirit can thrive with the right support and imaginative vision, setting an example for the entire nation.
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