For husband and wife Daniel and Charmaine Ngawharau, studying with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and using the knowledge learned to start a business has been the best decision they’ve ever made. Daniel (Ngā Puhi), a truck driver from a whānau of truck drivers, always had a goal to buy his own. When he approached the bank for a loan he was asked for his business plan, about which he knew nothing. Fortunately a google search sent him to Josephine Baker (Ngāti Hine), who would become his kaiako for the Certificate in Small Business and Project Management (Level 4), and ultimately his mentor.
“I was surprised to find out they do business courses as well, I thought it was only the reo”.
The course guided him through everything needed to make quality business decisions, including writing a business plan. One of the requirements involved researching the freight industry, and this lead to a contract opportunity from Mainfreight. The skills, knowledge and contract gave them the confidence to start their own business, and they’ve now purchased an additional van and hired two employees – one of them their eldest son.
Along this journey Charmaine (Ngā Puhi) decided to enrol in the certificate also, so she could support her husband.
“I thought if we were going to start a business then I needed to understand what he was doing. I didn’t know anything about the transport industry though, so it was all new to me!”
They both continued their studies, going on to complete Certificate in Personal Financial Capability (Level 3), and Diploma in Small Business and Project Management (Level 5). It was a challenging time for them; second year of business, both studying full time, Charmaine working externally full time, juggling their whānau and other commitments. Their reason for studying kept them going: they wanted to get ahead, and be able to provide for their whānau.
Daniel and Charmaine agree their highlight during their study was kaiako Josephine.
“She’s just amazing. She’s there to help us at any time and with anything we might need”.
Connecting with her has made the difference, but Josephine insists she is only the tokotoko, helping them along the pathway that was destined for them. The knowledge and learning all came from within, she just helped them unlock it and gave them a push in the right direction.
Daniel is now on what he considers a great run and has been able to lighten off the work load slightly. They’ve achieved their 3, 5 and 10 year goals, purchased their first investment property, and are well on the way to realising their dream of moving back home. This year will require some decisions for them, as they consider expanding the business.
While studying and starting a business took courage and determination, they encourage others to do the same.
“If you have an idea, and want some support for how to turn that into a business and have a mentor there right beside you to answer all your questions, then do it. Think about how you can be a role model for your whānau, for your kids and maybe even your parents”.