Working together to bring joy to all

"If there was anywhere in Wellington we needed to be as a start-up, this was it!" — Joe Harawira, 3 Māori Boys

"Although I’m not originally from here, Wellington has always felt like home. There’s a creative energy and sense of resilience that gives rise to dream’s worth pursuing. Whether it’s the people you meet or the places you go, once you embrace the city, you feel it.

Our Wellington moment happened when Wai Mānuka was a side hustle and at the time I was working for New Zealand Rugby on Molesworth St. We’d only been operating for about three months when Keri and Paul Retimanu from Karaka Café invited us to their beautiful whare kai situated in an iconic part of the Wellington Waterfront. They had been following our journey and were interested in establishing a partnership and stocking Wai Mānuka. 

That was a massive moment for us because we’d always held Karaka in such high regard, from its celebration of culture and amazing cuisine to the beautifully designed building with Kiwi music in the background and friendly staff greeting patrons on arrival. If there was anywhere in Wellington we needed to be as a start-up, this was it!

We sat down with them and rather than feeling like a business meeting it felt more like a group of friends catching up. We shared our stories, laughed and spoke about our aspirations to give back to the community and to encourage more people to follow their dreams. That said, they also offered us some advice along the lines of whilst it’s great to have a big vision, you still need to take things one day at a time. That has gone onto become a mantra for when things feel overwhelming – we bring it back to ‘Ok so what do we need to do right now.’

That initial hui was the start of a great relationship that continues to this day. Wai Mānuka has become a staple on the beverage menu, both as a standalone and mixer, and it’s even paired with local foods. And that’s what Wellington is all about – working together to find new and different ways to bring joy to others."

He taonga no Aotearoa - a precious gift from New Zealand

3 Māori Boys, make and market Wai Mānuka, a premium, non-alcoholic beverage that infuses mānuka honey with lemon juice and sparkling water with no added sugar or colours. 3 Māori Boys were finalists in the 2021 Wellington Gold Awards and are an official partner of the Hurricanes.

Only in Wellington

Wellington is full of stories about little moments, in ordinary places that have led to extraordinary successes. Discover some of these stories, and the people behind them.

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