Te Arawa Fisheries - how they fish for truth
Updated: May 13
As devoted ocean lovers, you can imagine the excitement when we learned we’d be working with Te Arawa FISHeries. We connected immediately around our mutual respect for the ocean and the Maori world view principles of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga, which are strong in the spearfishing community too.
Our kaupapa was to look at ‘What Lies Beneath’ the Te Arawa Fresh retail operation. CEO Chris Karamea Insley and his team had instincts about what needed to be done but wanted them confirmed (or adjusted) by hearing what their key stakeholders, whanau, and customers had to say. While trusting your gut is hugely important, so is making sure you have the best possible information, which is why they engaged us.
This reminds me of my spearfishing adventure last Sunday. All data sources had forecast beautiful glassy seas, but as we nudged out past Mount Maunganui, I could see significant ripples on the horizon which is never a good sign!
I checked the forecast apps again and they still claimed calm seas even though we were being lashed in the face by cold salt water every few seconds. We were excited to get in the water so we continued venturing out deep despite my instincts telling me a different story to the app data.
Usually this wouldn’t have mattered, I go out in all kinds of weather, but this day we had a boatful, including new teenage spearos – one who is prone to seasickness! So, it was no surprise that he was green and vomiting not long after we anchored at Astrolabe.
Quantitative data can only tell you so much, nothing compares to the reality of the situation, which in this case was being out on the water and for Te Arawa Fisheries, was getting qualitative feedback.
Listening to my instincts that the sea situation wasn’t going to improve anytime soon, we changed tact and retreated into the safety of a sheltered beach at Motiti Island where we were greeted with pristine sea conditions, above and below.
Turns out that my instincts were right, but so too was the data. Using the combination of the two, we turned what could have been a bust of a day into an amazing day for everyone, we just had to find the right spot.
The sick young spearo perked up when he saw a little green turtle and it was like a fish supermarket underwater in that bay. We were able to select from loads of plentiful and delicious kaimoana (don’t worry, we didn’t shoot the turtle!)
The Te Arawa Fresh feedback not only clarified many of Chris and the team’s instincts but it also deepened their understanding of their customers and stakeholders. Our feedback process gave them extra clarity and confidence, and had everyone on the same page about what to do next. Chris said after the project “the experience was excellent, the feedback presented was very deliberate and systematic”. They knew it was reliable.
As Chris reflected, “Self-analysis can be confronting, but it’s critical to growth. We are proud and impressed that everyone involved embraced the process with the clear view to making improvements for the future benefit of whanau”.
This was a heartening project to be involved with, knowing that we were helping Te Arawa Fisheries build prosperity for future generations, and we look forward to seeing progress each time we pop in for a fresh fish feast when we’re in Rotorua!
If you’re fishing for some in-depth knowledge about your clients to pair with your instincts and data, we should talk.
Client feedback - with depth
Kaitiakitanga has been described as guardianship or protection. The basic meaning of ‘tiaki’ is to guard but depending on the context in which it is used, it also means to preserve, keep, conserve, nurture, protect and watch over. The prefix ‘kai’ with the verb ‘tiaki’ denotes the agent of the action of ‘tiaki’. Therefore, a kaitiaki is a guardian, keeper, preserver, conservator or protector. The addition of ‘tanga’ denotes preservation, conservation and protection.
Manaakitanga is behaviour that acknowledges the mana of others as having equal or greater importance than one's own, through the expression of aroha, hospitality, generosity and mutual respect. In doing so, all parties are elevated, and our status is enhanced, building unity through humility and the act of giving.
Kaupapa means principles and ideas which act as a base or foundation for action. A kaupapa is a set of values, principles and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions.
Names of the fish starting from the bottom: Snapper, Trevally, Kahawai, Butterfish, Koheru, Blue Mao Mao, Goatfish
* Te Arawa Fisheries Group manages fisheries assets on behalf of the iwi of Te Arawa. The proceeds are used for the benefit of all Te Arawa descendants. Their vision is, “Effective Te Arawa Iwi, Prosperous Te Arawa Whanau, Healthy Te Arawa Moana”.
* Te Arawa Fresh sells fresh seafood products from their two locations in Rotorua including freshly smoked fish, fresh fish fillets processed instore, a large range of deli products along with fresh fish and chips. Yum!