A waterproofer by trade, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei uri Duane Wilson saw there was an opportunity for a whānau owned pakihi to carry out work for Whai Rawa in Orākei.
Having done work on apartment blocks from central Auckland to Mount Maunganui and Taupo, Duane approached Jackie Taylor, Assistant Property Manager at Whai Rawa, who was impressed with the quality of Wilson’s work. In February 2022, Ōrākei 7 Maintenance Limited was born.
“There wasn’t much I couldn't do, and I always worked well with the time frames I was given,” Duane says.
Now, a year-and-a-half on, he hasn’t looked back.
The work mostly involves sanding and painting the interior of houses, but Duane has also done a lot of kitchen and bathroom renovations in Orākei.
As for the number seven in ‘Orākei 7’, he says it’s simply his lucky number.
A one-man band, Duane subcontracts out and is looking to work with whānau in the future.
“When I get a little bit more established and have more steady work, that is something I would 100% like to see happen.”
As well as work on whānau homes via Whai Rawa, he has also done a handful of private jobs in Orākei, including changing a whole garage into a unit with a bathroom. Wilson typically works through Christmas, and last Christmas he did 41 homes; most of them were renovations or gutter work. He gets most of his work by word of mouth through whānau.
“I don’t really advertise. I just show people what I have done.”
The biggest challenge of owning a business, he says, is first and foremost paying bills on time.
“Making sure you pay for your labour, for the materials you use and so forth is the biggest challenge. The price changes a lot; in the last five months there’s been a big jump in pricing.”
Duane’s advice for people starting their own business is to do their homework first.
“Make sure you are certain of yourself and be confident in whatever decisions you make; just go with it. You are going to make mistakes. Learn from them and carry on.”