Promoting te reo

From left: Wider Horizons team members Faith Merrick, Natalie Dawick, Amia Wharry, Adriana Vickers, and Phoebe Adler. Photo: Ryan Wood.

Five young entrepreneurs at Otumoetai College are turning their interest in te reo Maori into a business.

The Year 12 students are taking part in the Young Enterprise Scheme, a nationwide competition in which high school students are rewarded for creating their own successful business.

The girls’ company is Wider Horizons and their product is an educational number set in te reo with an accompanying booklet of poems in both Maori and English.

“As a group, we realised we didn’t have the opportunity when we younger to learn te reo,” says communications director Adriana Vickers, explaining the motivation behind the business. “The product is aimed at ages two and up, with the images being things a child might see in the garden. The poems provide something for older kids to read.”

The pack comes with 20 cards – 10 numbers, and a corresponding nature photo (one cat and two dogs, for example). The artwork was designed by Year 10 student Grace Finnigan, while the poems in the booklet were written by award-winning children’s author Moira Wairama.

Most funds for the project came not from investors, but through fundraising activities.

“We only put a small amount in ourselves initially,” says finance director Faith Merrick. “The rest came from fundraising events, such as a movie night. We managed to raise $2000, as well as winning $100 in the local Dragon’s Den competition.”

The business has also received sponsorship of $500 from Bevan Wood of New Zealand Commercial Construction Ltd.

The girls have been working on their business since the start of the school year and they all agree it’s been a great experience – “interesting and practical.”

“I find it really rewarding,” says managing director Phoebe Adler. “You can actually see the results of all your hard work.”

The product, retailing for $38.90, is being sold to kindergartens, but is also available for private purchasers. For more information email

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