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Whānau owned business prepares whenua for future papa kāinga housing

Demolition works on old homes acquired from Kāinga Ora along Kupe Street between Hawaiki and Takitimu/Te Arawa Street has just been completed by one of our whānau owned pakihi. We had a kōrero with JP Stil and his sister Helina Stil from Nikau Contractors to find out more about their pakihi and what it means to be leading this mahi.

JP and Helina’s parents John and Diana originally started the international award winning demolition business 43 years ago providing lawn mowing services. The business progressed into the service that it is today, after one of their customers asked if they could remove an old shed on their property, the rest as they say is history.

Staunch uri of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei through their great grandmother Whetumarama Reweti, JP says he is proud of how Ōrākei has evolved over the years and is excited to be working at the papa kāinga.

“This job is quite special to us because our nanny Atawhai used to live on Kupe Street and our aunties used to live down the road. We used to walk up here when we were kids, so it’s quite moving to work on these projects and contribute to the change.”

With the housing market on a continuous climb, they’re glad to be part of a project that will help future generations have an opportunity to secure their forever homes.

“Without the help of whānau and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, the chances of our children and even their children being able to buy a home in Tāmaki is low, so it is very special to know this whenua will be brand new homes in the future,” says Helina.

Whānau is key for Nikau Contractors, with JP and Helina’s siblings Janine and Michael, cousins and the next generation of the Stil whānau actively part of the business. Helina shared that working with her whānau challenged her in a positive way, they inspire her to push through.

“We have to put in the hard hours, we’re on call 24/7 but we always have our whānau to support us.”

JP says he is proud to see more whānau-owned companies starting to come through and thrive – because it is tough.

JP’s advice for other whānau looking to start their own business is to involve your whānau and tamariki as much as possible and be prepared to do the mahi.

“Education is important but it’s also great to include your tāmariki in the business, so they have that option after graduating. To pass on your skills and trade to future generations is a perfect outcome.”