A groundbreaking initiative is aimed at revitalising the Māori economy through the power of koha.
Indigishare was developed during lockdown to help Māori businesses by developing a more sustainable economic model. It includes a crowdfunding platform where Māori put out a karanga to other Māori businesses for support.
Chair Maria Ngawati said part of that is setting up a mechanism or a platform whereby whānau can koha to other Māori.
"We're primarily focusing on business at the moment. You can be a start-up, entrepreneur, you can have an existing business, so we're here to help you start-up, build and to thrive."
The initiative is modelled after an American organisation called Kiva where people from first world countries can koha to businesses in third world countries.
"What happens is you call on your crowd and as a giver, a kaikoha or a kaituku moni, you can put your money into a business of your choice, and then over time, that money is paid back to you," Ngawati said.
Indigishare advisory trustee Anahera Waru says she knows first hand the impact Covid has had on the indigenous economy, struggling tourism operators and whānau.
"We saw an extraordinary amount of businesses and whānau struggle as the world shut down," she said. "It became very apparent that an injection of some sort was needed to be able to revitalise the Māori economy.
"We are a very resilient people but the current economic structures or frameworks don't necessarily support what it is that we think we can do and the way that we operate.
"We know that Māori champion tikanga and we use that as a framework, and we immediately knew that there had to be a better way to be able to support some of the businesses to be able to get back up and running in the face of Covid."
Board member Rawiri Bhana is also the founder of Tautoko Māori, a website developed during lockdown with the catch-cry to "support, shop and spend Māori".
He says while Māori are great innovators, they often struggle to find financial support.
"Indigishare for us was a natural marrying-up for looking and finding these amazing Māori-owned businesses, who may not be able to make the next step or in some cases the first step."
The rōpū are calling on others to help with a PledgeMe campaign launching during Matariki.
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