Loma Cleave, a self-made Māori businesswoman, is always looking for the next opportunity in order to survive the demands of off-grid living on the remote Great Barrier Island. 

Of Ngātiwai, Cleave believes that utilising the main source of employment there, tourism, is the key for the economic growth of Māori businesses on the island.

"I set the shop up because I needed a place to make contact with people to make products."

Located at Port Fitzroy Akapoua Cleave's shop is the hub that sells products created by the Māori community from the island while also providing other services.

The median household income for Great Barrier Island is $30,100. 

Cleave who has been operating for almost six years now. She says her main clients are wealthy tourists.

"Their boats are huge, they generally have staff on them and they are friendly and they are good old Kiwi stock just like me." 

However, Cleave says some of the setbacks of living north of Great Barrier Island includes limited internet data usage and not having mobile coverage which is essential for the business.

"I have to come in all the way and sit because they can't get a hold of us. 

"We have no communication and at Christmas time. 

"When it rains, it floods."

She adds that about 32,000 tourists visit the island yearly and says that she encourages the Māori community to think entrepreneurial.

"Once upon a time, they worked for the boss now they are working for themselves. There are opportunities everywhere." 

With the increase in numbers of visitors each year it is hoped the increase will also see economic opportunities increase for Māori on the island.

LIKE