Introducing: Rachel Hopkins to our Board

Early this year we announced the retirement of our director, Nick Lewis, and the April departure of our board member Jessica Venning Bryan with the arrival of her baby.

After running a three month process to find a new director, we’re  excited to announce the appointment of a new member of the PledgeMe board, Rachel Hopkins!

Rachel has spent over 25 years in marketing, branding and customer experience, including working in both the Australian market and Māori / Pasifika engagement. From 1995-1999 Rachel started, grew, and sold a professional services business in Australia.

Recently appointed as the Chief Executive of Diversity Works NZ, Rachel has been part of the Senior Leadership Team of Competenz since early 2013. She held roles as Marketing Director for The Icehouse and Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and as Marketing Manager for The University of Auckland Business School. She spent seven years as a director of Ocean (a branding agency) and, as part of the Future Directors programme, sat on the board of NZX-listed AWF Madison Group for 18 months. In 2016, she was named the Institute of Directors Emerging Director of the Year (Auckland Branch) and has completed the Chartered Director qualification.

She came to us via a recommendation from one of our shareholders (and friends), and started adding value from the first skype chat. (For those that haven’t read Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, you should).

One of her life goals is to “use [her] skills to help women grow businesses and ‘get s*** done’ for the economy and healthier communities” and she believes deeply in the idea of empowering communities. This resonated with me as a founder and also with our company values.

Our plans for growth involve a healthy mix of deepening our roots in New Zealand, supporting indigenous founders, and launching in Australia, and we know that Rachel will add insight and experience to all of those areas.

Thank you, Rachel, for joining us on this next phase of PledgeMe’s journey!

 

What's Up Wednesday

Taranaki Retreat

Last year, thanks to their crowd, Taranaki Retreat opened its doors. The suicide prevention facility provides a safe and supportive space for Kiwis dealing with suicidal thoughts; or those who have lost someone to suicide; or anyone who is feeling the pressure of life is just too much. They’ve been doing incredible work, but their services are inundated – over 1000 people have got in touch in the last year alone, far more people than they can manage.

That’s where their latest campaign comes in. The retreat needs to appoint a Community Support Worker to assist with supporting guests, but they don’t currently have the funds to do so. They’re reaching out to their crowd for help with funding a worker for 12 months, and in return they’re offering exciting rewards: everything from homemade chocolate brownies, to the naming rights to a tree.

The campaign has less than two weeks left and they really need your help, so we talked to campaign runner Jamie about why people should be getting on board.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We believe that one loss to suicide is way, way too many. And anybody who has lost someone close will agree. Our reality is that we have a major, terrible and growing problem. However, this unique and highly effective community-based solution (which is not beset by a heap of requirements or a complex referral process) is seeing some INCREDIBLE results. Prevention is the way forward – and that’s what we’re all about.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We need to respond swiftly and meticulously to every single inquiry we receive. Without fail. Our team needs to grow to accomplish this. There is an urgency to this shout out – we need to move on this NOW! And have some breathing space to line up long-term funding for the position.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

YES! We have some AMAZING rewards…. and some funky updates still to come – including some seriously cool little video clips showing inside views of the work we are doing. We also have a further goal that we’re seriously excited about – and there’s more information about that in the campaign.

Anything else you want t0 shout out to your crowd?

Please spread the word. Pledge as much as you possibly can, and we promise to do you proud. We believe this work is about all of us – and here’s a direct way you can make a difference – right NOW! Arohanui ki a koutou….

To make a literally life-saving pledge, check out Taranaki Retreat’s campaign right here.

What we learned from our Tā Koha wānanga

The Tā Koha team hit the road with two aims: to bring the idea behind Tā Koha to local communities around the motu, and to hear the voices of the entrepreneurs and communities that Tā Koha will serve. We brought with us our energy and collective knowledge, and the crowds we spoke with gave us their insights, their enthusiasm and their curious questions.

Our whānau in Tūranganui a Kiwa

 

So what did we learn from the wānanga with our wider whānau in Whangarei, Manukau, Rotorua, Tūranganui a Kiwa and Ōtautahi? What wisdom flowed from our crowd?

Barriers to funding

The very first obstacle is a lack of awareness of the variety of options that exist and an understanding of how they can work for Māori. Who do I ask and where do I begin looking?

“Funding” can often be perceived as government grants, rather than covering everything from bootstrapping to philanthropy, from bank loans and payday lenders to angel investment and crowdfunding.

Not fitting the mould or satisfying the criteria set by traditional funding gatekeepers often prevents Māori entrepreneurs from funding their journeys. Sometimes it feels like applications and forms aren’t designed for Māori.

Having the support and insights to build confidence as you work through a funding process is crucial.

What’s needed beyond the money

What meaningful outcomes do Māori entrepreneurs want from raising money?

From many, we heard about a desire for a shared sense of ownership amongst whānau and hapu over the enterprise, whether a business, a non-profit, a whānau enterprise, social enterprise or marae enterprise. This helps to source skills, assets, time and willing effort from the crowd.

Others were eager to find expertise and guidance from inside and outside of the local community, and to uplift, upskill, and provide opportunities for the community. People agreed that filling up the kete was more important than funding.

Crowdfunding concerns

There were some concerns expressed about crowdfunding. Crowdfunding was new to many, and some suggested that passing on the knowledge to older stalwarts would be a challenge.

Alongside this was the fear of not knowing how it works, and not being supported through preparing for a campaign. People expressed a need for hero campaigners whose shoes they could see themselves in. Plus, taking part in a campaign takes time, skills, money and a willingness for people to put themselves out there.

Beyond the technical issues, come the issues of finding the right audience: how do people figure out who their crowd is, or even whether they have a crowd? And the big ask is a natural reservation. How can we reshape asking for money as giving whānau an opportunity to share in our impact? How do we move away from transacting and towards engaging?

Innovative sparks

It was inspiring to hear the creative ideas coming from the crowds. From kanohi te kanohi learning support, to games that introduce rangitahi to basic crowdfunding concepts. From viewing your diverse crowd as a “digital marae”, to collecting a wishlist of in-kind support from whānau (building the kete of time, skills, effort voices, land, assets & equipment).

 

What did we each take away from our hikoi experience?

Kaye-Maree

Understanding how crowdfunding works is really important to the people we connected with.  And we keep seeing the desire from our people to access capital, in ways that is accessible and can utilise the collective potential of whānau and community.  People also want to give beyond money, they want to give their time, skills, knowledge information. We hope we can weave this into the Tā Koha Platform.

Linda

“We, as Māori, have always used our whānau and communities to fund our ideas.  What is stopping us from using the technology within PledgeMe to seek further funds and services to grow!  “E tipu e rea, mo nga ra o tou ao, ko to ringa ki nga rakau a te Pakeha hei ara mo to tinana: ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna Maori hei tikitiki mo to mahuna”

Jessie

“Having the chance to sit back and just listen to the whakāro from all the people we spoke to was eye-opening. We are grateful for these contributions, and for the opportunity to try to turn them into reality.”

Barry

“Getting to know good people from all over Aotearoa who care about uncovering opportunities for their communities was fantastic. And the open and honest kōrero with our newfound whānau has really widened our vision for what Tā Koha can achieve. How can we design ways for contributions of all shapes and sizes, of dollars and of goodwill, to be shared and celebrated?”

 

We’re extremely grateful for everything and every word that was gifted to us on our hikoi. We now must honour those conversations, contributions and ideas by creating a crowdfunding platform that truly delivers for Māori.

A big Kia Ora to our hosts who warmly welcomed us into their homes: InnoNative Business Base in Whangarei, GHA in Rotorua, Te Puni Kōkiri in Manukau and Gisborne and Ngai Tahu in Ōtautahi.

 

There’s still have a couple of local wānanga coming up. If you’re keen to join the conversation join us at TPK Porirua on Wednesday 28th March at 6pm, or online for a webinar wānanga on Wednesday 4th April at 6pm. You can RSVP here for Porirua, and here for the webinar.

Looking for a Kaituitui (Tā Koha platform Project Lead)

We’ve partnered with Māori Women Development Inc (MWDI) to create a new way for communities to fund indigenous and regional entrepreneurs. We believe supporting tangata whenua to access new forms of capital using platforms and tools that enable them to involve their communities can create a whole range of new opportunities – some of which we might only scratch the surface on.

Now, we’re looking for a Kaituitui to come lead the delivery of the Tā Koha platform. We’ve been up and down the country researching, have deep knowledge from Māori Women Development Inc and PledgeMe, but need someone to come bring that all together and drive the delivery of the platform. Is that you?

Role: Kaituitui – Tā Koha platform Project Lead

Location: Creative HQ, Wellington

Hours: 2-3 days per week for the next four months

Rate: $40/hour

 

We believe the right person will be able to:

  • Lead a part-time team of five across two organisations
  • Consolidate the qualitative and quantitative research already completed into the capital needs of indigenous entrepreneurs
  • Formulate follow up research plans for external researchers
  • Scope out the implementation with our wider team
  • Take part in Kiwibank Accelerator programme in Wellington (running until the end of May)
  • Give presentations, and facilitate group discussions
  • Take part in weekly group meetings and advisory board check ins, as well as daily standups
  • Deliver the first iteration of the platform with our partners and technical providers
  • Support projects through the process
  • Feed into reporting to our boards and funders
  • Have fun

Experience

  • Fluency in Te Reo Māori and a deep understanding of kaupapa Māori and Māori communities
  • Leading teams (bonus points if it’s across organisations)
  • Managing projects to budget and time
  • Research

Who’s behind this?

We’re co-creating this initiative between Māori Women Development Inc and PledgeMe. Here is some of the team behind it:

Barry Grehan is our Irish blow-in. He’s a rebel banker with an eye for fresh financial ideas. Whether it’s crowdlending or equity crowdfunding, his aim is to democratise the financial markets.

Kaye-Maree Dunn is a Hinepreneur ICF Coach under #RISE2025 and Māori Women’s Development Inc (MWDI), specialising in project management and relationship building, she works with MWDI and Te Whare Hukahuka. She has also started her own company, Making Everything Achievable (MEA). Through coaching, facilitation, technology, community development and business management, she uses her commitment to kaupapa Māori and holistic principles to explore how we can create systemic change.

Linda Clay is a 2018 Leadership New Zealand participant has been the accountant at MWDI for the past five years. Her role includes managing the loan book for the organisation and working directly with clients and supporting the delivery of education to wahine Māori and their whānau.  

Teresa Tepania-Ashton has 12 years experience in corporate banking with CITIBANK. She was responsible for major corporate clients in New Zealand that were focussed on global cash management and prior to that for more than a decade Teresa worked for a Danish Dairy Engineering firm. In July 2004, she was appointed as the CEO of Te Runanga a-Iwi o Ngāpuhi, allowing Teresa to focus on developing the assets of Ngapuhi but more importantly the aspirations of the Ngapuhi people. Teresa is currently appointed as CEO for Maori Women’s Development Inc who are a micro-lending organisation offering business loans to Maori women and their whanau.

Anna Guenther is PledgeMe’s co-founder, sounds American but she’s definitely a Kiwi. If pushed, she’ll say she’s technically from Dunedin, but will later admit she grew up in Boston. She completed her Masters with a focus on crowdfunding and has worked for everyone from NZTE to MIT (and all of the acronyms in between).

Interested in the role? We’re taking applications until EOP Monday 26 March and looking to appoint quickly after that.

Please email your CV or LinkedIn and a bit more about what you’d like to bring o this role to [email protected]

We hope to find someone as passionate about inclusive capital as us, with relevant experiences, and the interest to stick with us past the delivery of this project if it goes well.

A PledgeMe day that’ll live long in my memory

I’m not the best at reflecting. It’s probably why I only seldomly appear in our blogosphere! I get caught up in the movement, the progress, the growth, the next step. But on Thursday evening last week, I allowed myself to rest and reflect. Reflect on what has probably been my favourite PledgeMe day yet.

Early alarm for an early flight from Welly to Hammy. Myself and Kaye-Maree from Māori Women’s Development Inc – two bleary-eyed shadows of humans. But the welcome and energy from Christina, Ceara, Ian and the Kōkiri Accelerator teams was infectious. We shared with them our Tā Koha plans, and in return we dove deep together to explore the barriers to funding that they face as entrepreneurs and how crowdfunding can work best for their companies. We happily bathed in their insights!

Credit: Māori Women’s Development Inc

 

Kōrero flowing

 

No better way to follow up our session than with a tale from someone who’s deep in his crowdfunding prep at the moment. Panapa Ehau, founder of Hikurangi Cannabis, took the mic to inspire his captivated crowd. Their upcoming equity campaign aiming to empower their local community to collectively create economic, social and health impact for the many. Caring for the people and caring for the land.

Panapa shares the Hikurangi journey

 

While all this was going on, a Little Bird was busily counting down the moments til their big equity crowdfunding campaign took flight. Eight years in the making and three since their crowd provided a little help. Anna G and PledgeMe team waiting in the wings to ensure no unnecessary turbulence.

I’m back at Hamilton airport and the laptop unfolded just in time for 5…4…3…2…1…we have lift off.

Early birds catching the worm

 

Swift pre-flight switch from laptop to phone

 

Almost there!

 

Half a mil in an hour & a half

 

Excited mid-flight call from Leonard, Little Bird’s CEO. Apologies Air New Zealand. I could have sworn it was on flight mode!

Head back out of the clouds, feet firmly on the ground and moving swiftly back to PledgeMe HQ to present Tā Koha alongside MWDI’s Linda, to Angel HQ. Deep discussion with the crowd, and great conversation with a big crowdfunding supporter, Charles Hett.

So what is that magic that I feel being a part of PledgeMe community? I think that something special comes from empowering others. When we have success, it’s shared. Shared with those hardworking campaigners who are putting their stamp on the world. Shared with their crowds who’ve inked their stamp. Shared and celebrated by our sometimes-dispersed but always-there-for-each-other team.

That feeling won’t stop after today burns into tomorrow. It’ll resurface the next time I wander into the Little Bird’s Unbakery. It’ll reignite when I congratulate Panapa on changing the lives of his people. It’ll burst out when the first of our newfound whānau of inspiring Māori entrepreneurs fund their plans through Tā Koha. Knowing that, together with the changemakers at MWDI, we’ve had a meaningful impact by enabling others to realise theirs.

I’m grateful that I’m able to experience that feeling. And it’s a privilege to be sharing this journey with you all.

What's Up Wednesday

Stu Buchanan’s Real Book

Stu Buchanan was a most beloved jazz musician especially in Christchurch where he based and all around NZ. One of his former students, Nanako Sato, helped him launch a PledgeMe campaign in 2013 to fund his album “Hey! What’s the Time?”. While Stu has since passed away, Nanako is keeping his legacy alive through a book that contains Stu’s stories and compositions. We talk to Nanako to find out more about the campaign.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Stu Buchanan was a beloved jazz musician, especially in Christchurch, where he was based, but also all around New Zealand. Throughout his 50 year music career, he had frequent appearances on various radio shows as member of several music ensembles from the 70s to the 90s, entertaining people at many bars, weddings, and jazz festivals. He taught or gigged with most of the musicians in Christchurch. Many people are still grieving his passing in 2014. He was much loved by those he inspired and encouraged by his music, music making, and his teaching. To have his original compositions book would be a fantastic and fitting tribute for his former students, colleagues, fans, and whanau.

I started this project, the making of the Stu Buchanan Real Book while he was still alive. With great time and effort, and with his permission, I have compiled his compositions from 1968 to 2013 into Real Book format. When Stu passed away in 2014, it was really hard for me to keep working on this project but gradually I have endeavoured to bring this work to completion. It is with intense feelings of satisfaction and relief that this project has almost reached its final production.

I think this campaign is important because I believe it will reach out to much wider audience than what I could achieve by email or Facebook.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

I organised and set up a PledgeMe campaign for Stu in 2013 in order for him to record his album “Hey! What’s the Time”, which was a great success and for which I know Stu was extremely appreciative. During that campaign, I realised that the target audience of his music was much greater than I had been aware. Consequently, I made some new friends and acquaintances with people who all shared in a common love and respect for Stu. Once again, my hope is that this platform will reach its wide audience.

Another thing I learnt from the previous campaign was that through PledgeMe, I was able to count how many copies to print. As I do not have a budget to print off hard copies, I undertook a survey last year, asking people to confirm their interest in a hard copy of a Stu Buchanan Real Book or their preference for a PDF version only. Surprisingly, even in this online age, people still preferred to receive a hard copy. In fact, most people (and especially musos) wanted both a PDF and a hard copy version.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

What I am really excited about is reaching my goal so that I can print off the copies. I am organising a book launch party in May. I will post the details on the PledgeMe page as well as the RIP Stu Buchanan Facebook page.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

I want to say thank you for reading this blog. Many thanks to those who have already pre-ordered the books and left lovely messages for me. You guys are amazing. And thanks in advance to the people still intending to contribute in the near future.

I sincerely hope people will realise that I will only be able to print off copies equal to the number of orders I get through this campaign as there is no other budget to allow for additional copies. I hope no one will miss out ordering this time, so please help older people or those around you with a computer phobia and offer them your assistance for the PledgeMe process as this may cause a lot of stress for elderly people, like my mother.

To order a copy of Stu’s Real Book, check out the campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

Nina and Reta’s Cape Epic Adventure

To say that Nina and Reta are enthusiastic about mountain biking is probably an understatement. They are set to go to South Africa to compete in an eight day mountain bike race in just two weeks. We talk to Reta about their campaign and how they are using it to inspire folk (and especially female folk!) to get out on their own bikes.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We love riding bikes. We love adventures. And we love challenging ourselves. When the opportunity arose to ride in Cape Epic – an eight day mountain bike race in South Africa – we couldn’t say no. As well as encapsulating everything we love, Cape Epic stands for a great challenge that we want other bikers (and especially female bikers) to be inspired by.

We have heard some great stories trickle through about the influence we have had on our crowd. For example, one friend – who is incidentally a grandmother – entered a four day mountain bike race called the Pioneer thanks to Nina’s persistent encouragement. By putting our goal of Cape Epic out on PledgeMe for our crowd to see, we hope to get others to follow our journey and, even better, get out on their own bikes!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

A friend encouraged us to create a PledgeMe campaign. We were drawn in by the fact that we are not simply asking for donations. We have been overwhelmed by the generous support that has come our way, and we always aim to give our supporters something back. This campaign has enabled us to create the opportunity for our supporters to win a year’s supply of Talley’s ice cream!

We also have a Facebook page where our supporters can follow our journey. We love creating videos – it is a great way to bring our supporters with us. We have also done a lot of fundraising in Christchurch. Some of our crowd have turned up to every single event! But by launching this campaign, we can reach those in our crowd who live elsewhere.  

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We will be providing regular video updates to our Facebook crowd from the actual race. It is in two week’s time, so not long to wait now!

We are also very excited to announce the winner of the Talley’s ice cream draw. Our campaign closes on 1 March so we will be announcing the lucky winners shortly after (keep an eye on our Facebook page).

You may have noticed that one of our closest supporters is the Hirepool Horse. He will hopefully be spotted at the Cape Epic race, up to his usual antics as well as supporting us. After all, we plan to talk, sing and laugh our way to the finish of Cape Epic.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We want to send out a HUGE thank you to our crowd! We will definitely be thinking of you all in the hard times, as we try to push a little harder and deeper.

Finally, we want to remind you that if you haven’t pledged yet, this is a great opportunity to win a year’s supply of Talley’s ice cream. As well as helping us get to Cape Epic, you will be in to win an ample supply of some excellent post-adventure recovery food!

Ice cream for a year? Yes please! Head over to Reta and Nina’s campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

Have your Cake and eat it too

Olivia is creating a film to share the reality of living a life full of anxiety (and cake). We chat to Olivia to learn why Cake is going to provide excellent food for thought to its viewers.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

I’ve suffered from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (G.A.D) for the past 10 years. It nearly consumed me. There were days where I expected the worse to happen. Even though our lives can be unpredictable – I thrived on making my days as predictable as possible and act as if it would all fall apart. I ended up staying indoors and found my comfort through baking. I found that baking and crafting a cake can take hours. I spent the entire day making these delicious cakes, just to make the day go by.

At the age of 21, I bought a few items at my local supermarket and all I did was have a panic attack. I realised that I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t justify why I needed to stay inside. I needed to get help. Through the help of my psychiatrist, I learned to walk outside again. I joined Rata Studios – led by my amazing teacher/mentor Miranda Harcourt. It took a while, but eventually I walked into her classroom and didn’t feel that sense of dread that nearly consumed me. I gained a passion for acting, and for telling stories through the character’s that I played out.

However, I craved more.

I spent hours online researching about directing. I started making videos for people and gained some knowledge about filming. I wrote my CAKE screenplay in under 5 hours. I already knew the story and I knew that this this would be important for those who are currently feeling like they’re alone. I want them to know that they aren’t.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

There are many types of artform to express an emotion or an idea. For me, I think that’s creating a film. I believe that this story could help bring awareness to those who are suffering from not only anxiety, but for those who are too afraid to ask for help for any issue they may have.

Unfortunately, to create a film can be rather expensive. I have a lovely small crew of Wellingtonians who are able to relate somewhat to the screenplay. We want to make an important film and we want to tell it right. This PledgeMe campaign will enable me to pay my crew and rent the equipment we need to further this project.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Apart from finishing up last-minute documents for filming, I am also currently in the process of reaching out to the local newspaper to cover my story and to help spread awareness. I also intend to add a few more rewards in the last week of the PledgeMe campaign – so keep an eye out!

Also, the crew and I will scream until our voices crack if we reach our target! Thanks in advance for bringing us this joy! We finish filming the night before my birthday, so I think a glass of wine and a few cakes will be in order.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

I just want to say how amazing these supporters are. It made me cry knowing that there are people out there who have suffered and want this story to get out. This shout out is for them. My other shout out is for my psychiatrist and my acting teacher. You’re both amazing and without you both, I would possibly still be in my house, dreading the day as it goes by. Thank you.

In the mood for some Cake? Head over to Olivia’s campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

Te Kōtare – a project to make Jenny Shearer’s dream fly

Jenny was a early childhood teacher who had a dream that all children would grow up in Aotearoa feeling comfortable moving through their own world and the world of tangata whenua. Jenny passed away before this dream happened. We talk to her whanau about how they are now making this dream a reality through a PledgeMe campaign.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

My wife Jen had a really strong passion for teaching children te reo māori – she was  a pre-school teacher, and took great care to fulfill this part of the curriculum. When she became unwell the first time, she reconsidered her work, and took some more time to focus on the songs she had been writing and teaching the children at her pre school (Little Earth Montessori, on the Kāpiti Coast). She worked really hard with local Māori to be respectful to the language, and to local history. In particular, she worked a lot with Matiu Te Huki, who is something of a local legend (and an international one, in fact) to craft the songs and the lyrics – Matui teaches waiata to children all around the Kāpiti area, and was amazing help.

So, Jen’s dream, was that these waiata could contribute to the education of children, and giving them more tools to live bi-culturally. We are not Māori, neither was Jen, but we are pākehā, and  we think that it is very important to live in a bi-cultural way – that’s the deal, and we can only have better lives by doing that.

It’s clear that as a language, Māori has a huge disadvantage – in that it is not as widely used as it could be, or should be – but it has this great advantage also, it’s beautiful and interesting and fun to learn.  Jenny just wanted to play her part in spreading a bit of that around.  Because she died, before we could get them recorded, it’s important to us, to honour her dream, and get them to as wide an audience as possible.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Our crowd is quite interesting. Many many people came to Jenny’s funeral, you know, for an introvert, it was amazing just how many people were there and were affected by her passing. She was such an encourager to so many people. She died soon after we completed transcribing all the songs she had written, so many people knew about her dream.

PledgeMe seems to be a perfect way to follow up on that dream, and reach out to the various groups – her close and distant family, colleagues from the early childhood sector, old school friends, other parents. We are really seeing a great response from people with interest in early childhood and primary education, music, and te reo, which is just what we had hoped for!

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We are still in the process of polishing off some of the recordings, and we are working on the songs having some real Wellington love behind them – while they are all recorded, we are approaching a number of fabulous artists, people like Warren Maxwell, and Lisa Tomlins, Al Faser, who is known for his knowledge and expertise in taonga puoro – we’ll be polishing off the recordings with these folk too. And more animations of the songs, we are super excited about that!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

Yes!  We are so grateful for the support of Matiu te Huki, for the reasons mentioned before. And also for Lee Prebble – we had a really fun day in his studio, where so many music legends have recorded, he has been so generous in his support for this project.

And to everyone who has pledged and contributed in many ways so far, or about to. Honouring Jen’s dream in this way is the best that any of us could do for her.

You can pledge to the Te Kōtare campaign here

What's Up Wednesday

Aroha for plant-based cuisine

Yingjie was inspired by the range of vegan and vegetarian restaurants she encountered on trips to Australia. So much so, that she has teamed up with her co-conspirer and cooking enthusiast, Silvia, to start a vegan-based restaurant in the heart of Wellington. From plant-based power bowls to epic mylkshakes, Aroha is set to please. Yingjie gives us some insight into the Aroha campaign.

Why do you think this campaign important?

Eating plant-based food is a lifestyle people choose to be healthier, as well as being environmentally and animal friendly. The opening of Aroha in central Wellington will definitely change the landscape of vegan eating. The food offered at Aroha will also cater for people who are non-vegans, we want to inspire non-vegans to try plant-based food.

Lunch at Aroha will provide a variety of options on grains, plant-based protein; plant-based meat, cooked and raw vegetables and vegan sauce to enhance flavour. Aroha will offer interesting vegetables like Wakame seaweed salad, Shiitake mushroom stripes, Wood Ear mushroom salad – foods that Mother Earth offers in bounty, waiting for us to explore!

This campaign is important because, with the support of our crowd, we can open Aroha and get off to a flying start in our mission to rally enthusiasm about vegan food in Wellington.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We appeal to the crowd to pledge anything from $5 towards our goal.

We have already invested over $240k to set up the business from scratch, after paying the design company, the equipment supplier, the trades people, we still need $20k to allow smooth cash flow running to the opening date on 20 February.

I have just resigned from my professional job in IT to fully dedicate my time to Aroha. This is not only because I want to follow my passion for plant-based food, but also for the positive impact on sustainability and animal welfare.

Together, we can make the world a better place. We believe our community will thrive when we help each other. That’s why we are offering our (delicious) food as rewards for your help.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

The construction work at Aroha will be completed on 5 February. We will then start our trial cooking to ensure everything works. We will publish some photos of Aroha then. Join our journey – check our pledgeme page, facebook page or our website for updates.  

We will also have a stall at the Vegan Vault Night Market this Saturday 3rd February at 171 Victoria Street. Please come along to taste our food!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We want to send our love and appreciation to everyone who had already pledged. For the people who are planning on pledging, we send you a huge pre-thank you!

We want to let our crowd know that we are committed to do our best to provide people in Wellington with delicious plant-based food!

Tummy grumbling at the sound of delicious plant-based food? Give Aroha some aroha here!