A business hub catering for Māori business has opened its doors in Rotorua, celebrating 10 years in business for a local accounting and consulting firm and helping contribute to the future development of other kaupapa Māori businesses.
The new GHA Centre was officially opened on Saturday August 29 by the Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell.
GHA director, Glenn Hawkins, started the business in August 2005 with just one client and working from a bedroom in his house. The company now employs 20 people, with a diverse range of clients across New Zealand.
“GHA was established to help Māori enterprises and organisations succeed by offering services for Māori, by Māori, to Māori. That is still our mission today.
“Our ongoing growth has come as a result of four basic principles: being kaupapa Māori, being honest, working hard and a focus on valuing relationships. This is combined with a belief that we have the knowledge and skills to help Māori in a way that our people respond to.”
As an extension of this core philosophy, the GHA Centre at 1108 Fenton Street incorporates a corporate village, Te Puni o Māui, as well as other office spaces, some of which have already been leased to Māori organisations.
GHA will be based on two levels of the building, which has had design input by architectural designer Darryl Church, to feature activity-based workspaces – an innovative workplace strategy that provides people with a choice of settings for a variety of activities.
Mr Hawkins says the new work space means staff can work in the area most suited for their needs, such as a high focus/concentration zone, through to varying degrees of collaboration.
“We are nothing without our people – they are the lifeblood of GHA and we wanted to create a great environment for them to work in.
“As a kaupapa Māori firm, we also wanted our values and identity as Māori to flow throughout the GHA Centre, inside and out. This is reflected in the design features, artwork, colours, the names of the rooms and common spaces, and of course in the neon sign of our moko. We want everyone to know this is a Māori building.
“We are mindful that we are under the gaze of our tīpuna, so we need to do everything with aroha, pono, tika and manaaki – a philosophy that is so entrenched that it is part of our core values.”
As well as opening its new building and celebrating 10 years in business, GHA has also welcomed Jason Mika to lead its consulting team, and opened applications for its annual scholarships.
Partner Mere George, who joined GHA in 2012, says the company is gearing up for future growth and is committed to supporting the next generation of Māori who want to become accountants.
“Those who do will be called upon by their iwi, hapu and communities for their leadership, skills and expertise in helping Māori enterprises. These are skills that will only become more important with the growth of the Māori economy.
“In the accounting world we are a small firm, but even small firms can make a difference and we are making our own contribution by investing in the next generation.”
Applications for the GHA Scholarships will open from Monday 31 August and close on Friday 2 October 2015.