Topics: Business, Te Arawa

Māori business struggling to find right workers

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Skilled workers are in high demand in Rotorua with some businesses struggling to fill vacant positions.

Retaining and finding the right person for the job has also been challenging for Māori business, Kai Caff Aye.

Kai Café Aye opened their doors in February and employs four permanent workers.

“When we opened up this shop, this café, we had over 108 applicants.  The hardest [part] was, I guess, going through those and selecting the right ones,” says Charlene Whakatau, co-owner of Kai Caff Aye.

Other Rotorua businesses have struggled to find skilled workers.

The latest job figures on Trade Me for new job listings have increased by 15% in the first four months of 2018.

“Choosing the right people is another thing.  We thrive on manaakitanga.  There are people out there that want to do the mahi but it's actually trying to get them in the door to do the mahi is the hardest thing for us,” says co-owner of Kai Café Aye Hikurangi Tahau.

Rotorua businesses such as luxury tour company, MDA Experiences, are looking at innovative ways to attract the right people to employ.

MDA director Takurua Mutu says that over a four-year period the tourism industry has created 1,220 new positions which is why they are exploring different paths to employ people.

“We work in partnership with Toi Ohomai - the institute there - we are working with a few of their tourism programs,” says Mutu.

At least three new businesses have opened in Rotorua since the beginning of the year.