Two years ago, the four female staff of Tangaroa Seafoods found out they were about to lose their jobs - Pacific Trawling was closing its retail arm.

The decision didn't make sense to Glenda McCleland.

"We had good feedback - it's a good product with no complaints," she said.

She suggested they run the shop themselves and they approached the owners.


"We hadn't run a business before so it was a bit of a scary situation," Stevie Rangiawha said.

"We had to shut the shop because none of us knew what we were doing.

"We had to get our head around the fact that we were going to own the business and we needed to go and see people about it - accountants, lawyers, all sorts of people.

"We had signs on the window saying 'sorry we are closed for a week' and we did lose customers."

But since they re-opened they haven't looked back.

McCleland also suggested they widen their offering.

"The amazing thing is we have always only sold fish but within hours customers were asking 'may I have lettuce, may I have tomatoes?" she said.

Unlike usual hierarchies, there is no one boss – decisions are made by consensus.

"Oh, I've got grumpy sometimes – we've all got grumpy sometimes," McCleland said. "But we've learned to just move on."

Moving on has worked well so far, the women said revenue at the shop was up 30 per cent.

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