Tasmyn Roach

Awhi Company

Tasmyn Roach wasn’t raised with Māoritanga (Māori cultural practices and beliefs) and says she’s faced many challenges in starting a business “in this space.”

The young entrepreneur (and new mum) creates and sells Māori designed pēpi (baby) products through her start-up Awhi (embrace, hug, cherish, cuddle) Company.

The 29-year-old says, “Awhi encompasses everything I am about; values, focusing on te reo Māori (Māori language), developing products for pēpi and normalising te reo from birth.”

Tasmyn believes many Māori wāhine (women), starting an indigenous business who weren’t raised with Māoritanga, initially lack confidence in their cultural space and look for ‘endorsement’ from others. She says she has now learned to "trust myself and realise I have nothing to lose," and completing The Prince’s Trust Enterprise workshop helped.

Awhi Company was one of the first to receive $20-thousand from PTANZ’s He Kākano Seed Fund.

“The pūtea (money) has enabled us to invest in new products and get expert support to really grow our pakihi” Tasmyn adds.

Tasmyn is now so busy with Awhi Company, becoming fluent in te reo and raising her pēpi, that she’s had to quit her day job.

“I can really focus on growing my pakihi (business) and create more Māori designed pēpi products to normalise Māori culture for the next generation.”