Meet Stay Native, a Māori owned social startup. They are working with indigenous communities and tourism organisations in our home country Aotearoa, New Zealand, the South Pacific islands, Australia and Canada to create jobs and business opportunities for indigenous communities.
Q: What was your inspiration for Stay Native?
As we got older, we realised that although we lived in such a beautiful place there was no work opportunities and most of my five siblings and I ended up moving to Auckland or Australia for work. There was a disconnect from our culture and from our home.
As a family we discussed how we might come back and reconnect to our home and our culture, and as we were sitting there appreciating the blessings of the whenua (land) and moana (sea) we thought to ourselves, “Why can’t we share this beauty with others and make it a way for us to move home and earn a living?”
Q: Tell us about your family
Growing up in a small rural town in New Zealand was idyllic. Our family of eight lived in a tiny two bedroom house on the beach that my great grandfather built 50 years earlier. Our house had no electricity, we walked for half an hour every morning to catch the school bus, and our dinner was often what we could catch or gather from the sea.
Our spare time was spent exploring forests, surfing the local breaks, fishing off the rocks and riding horses around the headland with our cousins and friends. It was an amazing life for us as kids but our parents would spend hours each day commuting to the closest city for work each day.
Q: What was your businesses MVP?
We started hosting travellers we met and shared our ideas with our family and friends who started hosting travellers as well. Soon people we didn’t even know started asking us about how they could host travellers as well and Stay Native was born.
Q: How is the Lightning Lab Tourism Accelerator programme helping you?
We’ve had some great highlights already; at the start of the programme we got insights from a bunch of organisations connected with Māori entrepreneurs, as well as some Maori business owners as well.
These valuable insights helped us dive deep into the needs of our crowd, and are the backbone that we are basing our platform on.
We are now bringing together ten ‘early adopters’ who will go through the first iteration of our platform.
We are also looking forward to Demo Day, on the 22nd of August at the Town Hall, where we can share our learnings and story in front of investors and our mentors.
Q: What is your vision for Stay Native?
We now work to make it easier for indigenous families like ours to build sustainable businesses of their own by helping them to create amazing experiences for travellers, and empowering them to have the freedom to stay connected to their homes, their communities and their culture.
Want to find out more about Stay Native? Check out their website to stay up to date and for how you can get involved. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to get all the latest on our teams straight to your inbox.