Nov. 2, 2018, 2:36 p.m.
Hihiāua peninsula came to life on Saturday as thousands of shoppers were treated to an array of authentic Māori products at the InnoNative market.
In what is only their second year running, the market had over 100 stalls, entertainment and educational displays and market organiser Auriole Ruka said the event has doubled in size.
“As one of the organisers of an awesome team we are just stoked that everyone has come, the community have turned out and just to see it grow.
“There’s some amazing things happening in our community and this is a platform to be able to showcase them all,”she said.
Sales were high for all stalls covering Māori products that can often be hard to find in the mainstream marketplace. From romiromi (massage), jewellery, clothing to barber cuts, there was something for everyone and local barber Vince Nathan said more events like this are needed in Whangārei.
“It’s really hard for people to get out there when you’re just starting off and not a lot of people know about it and it is so good to see so many Māori businesses here and such a wide variety, Having an eclectic range really showcases our talents and collective here in Ngāpuhi,” Nathan said.
New to the market this year was the digitech space collaborated by local group “N-Gen” and was an opportunity for editors, gamers and computer enthusiasts to collaborate and show off their skills.
“It’s important for our Māori businesses, a lot of our people don’t get that much exposure so this is the best place for them to build their business and develop the awesome mahi they have created and showcase it to the world,” said N-Gen collaborator Jahmille Ruka.
Food was also expanded this year to include vegan cuisine and InnoNative pushed for a ‘fizz-free’ environment to promote better health. The crowd were entertained by hosts Kihi Ririnui and Kāwiti Waetford with performances by 3IC, Betty-Ann Morunga and local kapahaka group Te Puu Ao.
Ririnui said the day was an example of how a small idea can grow into a huge event which is a reflection of the popularity of locally owned Māori businesses.
“There’s so many ideas out there but all I know is, it’s great to be Māori. It’s great to be native and it’s great to be innovative.”