Mataatua; The House That Came Home

Jpeg Horizon Award with Team

Horizon Business Excellence Awards 2014


Ko Putauaki te maunga

Ko Rangitaiki, Ko Orini, Ko Ohinemataroa, ko Tarawera nga awa

Ko Mataatua te waka

Ko Ngati Awa te iwi

Why would Mataatua enter the Horizon Business Excellence Awards?  After all why would do we need a panel of judges critiquing our culture and our Ngati Awatanga?  How can a wharenui (meeting house) with such a rich cultural heritage and such symbolic meaning to Ngati Awa and the community of Whakatane be judged?

Those were the initial thoughts behind the management team of Mataatua, Te Manuka Tutahi, but after attending the various Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce events to gain a better understanding of the criteria and the purpose behind the business excellence awards it became clear that the process was a way of drawing a line in the sand and saying, this is where the business is today and this is where we want to be.  This is how the 40 (check) businesses that entered this year were judged against one another.  It was about systems and processes (and the evidence of those) of how you capture data, analysis of that data and the implementation of strategies based on those findings, the infrastructure you have in place, the businesses Key Performance Indicators and understanding of the customer base and the future direction required of the business.  So we thought, yes let’s take an opportunity to look at our external systems and processes.

Mataatua celebrated its third birthday in September this year and are preparing for another summer of international visitors, family and friends.  Those years have lead us to where we are today, the people who had the dream to bring Mataatua wharenui back home, those who are no longer with us, those involved in the re-build, the many who contributed to the opening, those who were here during the establishment phase and those who’ve contributed to our development and assist us in our everyday operations today.

Winning the Waiariki Small Business Award is a testament to all those who have contributed to the journey thus far.  It’s acknowledgement from the local business community that Mataatua is contributing to the economic development of the region.  It recognises the tenacity to make a contribution to the tourism sector to put Whakatane and the Bay of Plenty on the map and into the mind-set of international visitors.  It’s a testament to 20,000 odd visitors that have visited Mataatua since it opened.  It’s recognition to nga uri o Ngati Awa who have invested their lives to ensure the vision of our elders for Mataatua to be a living and breathing being, is just that.

Year on year Mataatua continues to grow.  The strategy to utilise our local community groups, to host the children from our pre-schools, our primary schools, the intermediate and secondary schools, hosting our local tertiary providers hosting individual hapu of Ngati Awa, at reduced rates, has been a strategic investment into the future of Mataatua.

The trophy will sit in Mataatua, our wharenui, at the feet of Te Mautaranui alongside the three kohatu from Mauke, Hawaii and Te Waipounamu until it is returned for the next awards ceremony in 2016.  It’ll be that little pick me up to remind us that what we’re doing here is making a difference.