Te Wairoa Business Week 2018

A full week of all things business that will:

Provide local businesses access to business support agencies

Workshops for new and existing business

Retail /agriculture and horticulture / service sector focus

Guest speakers

Business Week Schedule

If you would like to attend one of the workshops below please use the the links to register so we can make sure we have sufficently catered to the amount of interest shown. Whether you would like to attend all the workshops or just one please insure to register your interest as we will email you details about the workshops as Te Wairoa Business Week draws closer.

Day 5
Friday 6th

 12.30pm |Te Wairoa Business Week Finale Lunch – Special Guests: Paul & Reihana Manaena – Laser Electrical and Plumbing, Jacob Kajavala – Kajavala Forestry LTD,SwitchKites

Business Week Sponsors

Business Week Speakers

Michaela Vodanovich

As well as Managing my own business, I am fortunate to work with awesome business owners up and down the East Coast, helping them to grow their businesses and their people.

Regional Manager – Hawke’s Bay

Company NameThe ICEHOUSE

Dates EmployedFeb 2013 – Present

Employment Duration5 yrs 5 mos

LocationHawke’s Bay

Managing Director

Company NameGame Changer Limited

Dates EmployedFeb 2013 – Present


Employment Duration5 yrs 5 mos

LocationGisborne & Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Emma Lowe


Tax Agent

Company NameKiwitax Limited

Dates EmployedFeb 2004 – Present

Employment Duration14 yrs 5 mos

Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay

Leonna Karauria

Owner and ICT Project Manager

Company NameSimplistic Advanced Solutions Ltd

Dates Employed2004 – Present


Employment Duration14 yrs


Advanced ICT support solutions services. Also providing local technical and computer training services.

Internet Service Provider

Company NameWairoa Wireless Communications Ltd

Dates Employed2010 – Present

Employment Duration8 yrs

LocationHawkes Bay


Bridging the technology gap throughout the Communities of Wairoa, Tairawhiti Gisborne and the wider Hawkes Bay.

Vanessa Hayes


Managing Director 

Company NameTorere Macadamias Ltd

Dates Employed1993 – Present

Employment Duration25 yrs 

LocationHawke’s Bay

Hera Katipa



Company NameTe Puni Kokiri Ministry of Maori Development

Dates Employed2012 – Present

Employment Duration6 yrs

Neil Smoker


Commercial Manager

Company NameWestpac New Zealand Limited

Dates EmployedSep 2006 – Present


Employment Duration11 yrs 9 mos

Vonese Walker


Information Manager

Company NamePoutama Trust

Dates EmployedApr 1998 – Present


Employment Duration20 yrs 3 mos

Julia Kay

Experienced marketing professional focussed on adding value to our client’s bottom line. 
Working on a strategic level for the corporate, private + not-for-profit sectors. 
Passion for digital + online strategy – making the internet work for you.


Managing Director

Company NameCreative Marketing New Zealand

Dates EmployedAug 2006 – Present

Employment Duration11 yrs 11 mos

LocationHastings, Hawke’s Bay


Creative Marketing, established in 1996, is an independent marketing agency with real business smarts. Based in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, we have clients across the country and world. Distance is no barrier – wherever you are, we’ll come to you.

Jody Hamilton

Experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. Skilled in Business Planning, Analytical Skills, Coaching, Government, and Business Development. Strong professional with a Masters in Public Administration focused in Public Administration from The Australian National University.

Lead Facilitator and Founder

Company NameLIFT Social Enterprise – I LIFT, You LIFT, We LIFT

Dates EmployedMar 2017 – Present

Employment Duration1 yr 4 mos

LocationGisborne & Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

LIFT is a social enterprise with the purpose to ensure all unemployed job seeking young people (16 years to 24 years) in the Hawke’s Bay are offered an employment opportunity, leading to sustainable and fulfilling careers. This is for the purpose of increasing youth employment and significantly decreasing the NEET (not in employment, education or training) rate. 

Carolyn Neville

My passion is working collaboratively with clients and key partners to meet the needs of the venture; building strong, sustainable customer-focused businesses and brands. 

Engaging clients, customers and stakeholders in strategic planning, business development, problem solving, marketing strategy and bringing a brand to life.

Marketing & Operations Manager [& Acting CE Apr-Sep17]

Company NameBusiness Hawke’s Bay

Dates EmployedNov 2016 – Present

Employment Duration1 yr 8 mos

LocationHawke’s Bay Business Hub | Ahuriri | Napier

Marketing strategy, communications, relationship management and operational oversight for Business Hawke’s Bay, and one of BHB’s key local initiatives, the Hawke’s Bay Business Hub. Part of a small team driven by a genuine passion for seeing the region thrive and growing business in Hawke’s Bay


Paul and Reihana Maneana:
Laser Plumbing and Electrical

Paul Manaena
Managing Director – Laser Plumbing and Electrical Napier
Reihana Manaena
Director – Laser Plumbing and Electrical Napier

Paul’s Journey from his Apprenticeship
Paul Manaena started his electrical journey as an apprentice in the early 80’s
He then progressed to become a qualified electrician and gained a wide variety of experience.
Paul ended up in the HB Tomoana freezing works as an electrical shift worker at a time when the meat industry was thriving.
As history goes the freezing works were shut down in 1994 and that left many workers unemployed and families without an income.
Paul then had to re-assess his plan and out of his drive to provide for his Wife Martha & Son Reihana, Paul entered into a business partnership with another electrical contractor.

Paul’s Business Journey
Paul had a wide variety of knowledge and skills that were extremely valuable for running a great company, but he soon realised there was a lot more to running a business.
Hard work ethic and determination gave him what he needed to learn how to run a business in a high demand industry.
Paul had a keen focus on the industrial food industry, especially with his freezing works experience.

Laser transition
After 5 years of operating as an independent contractor, Paul was approached in 1999 by Laser Electrical to potentially become one of the foundation members for Laser Electrical New Zealand.
Paul saw an extensive list of benefits, including advanced systems & business support.
A substantial benefit was the franchise model that meant Paul would retain full ownership and control of his business.
Picking up all the benefits and beginning with a fresh professional brand.
The proposal was accepted and Laser Electrical Hawke’s Bay was born in 2000.

Business Growth
After the transition, Paul rode a tidal wave of growth and business opportunities.
The Laser support allowed Paul to work on the business and continue to build a successful, well known company.

Reihana joined Laser
In 2006 Reihana started his electrical apprenticeship a a 16 year old young man.
Reihana struggled with the theory & completing electrical studies, but after 5 years and 2 children he completed his final exam.

Laser Electrical Napier
Paul had experienced 10 years of business success but now needed a new challenge after Paul & his business partner had different visions for the future.

Paul decided that he would break away and start Laser Electrical Napier in 2010 with Reihana & 3 staff following him to begin a new venture.
The first 4 years were a real struggle, and operated mostly in the new home & small maintenance markets.
After 3 builders going into liquidation in December 2013, Laser was left in a seriously unstable financial position.
While continuing to struggle, Laser was struck with the tragic death of Reihana’s wife in March 2014 when she was involved in a fatal head on car accident.
Reihana’s children were also involved but survived with minor injuries.

Strength of surrounding yourself with great people
With the severity of the circumstances that Paul, Reihana, family and Laser had just been through, it was extremely difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Paul had an extremely tight network built around him, including family & the Laser Group.
The strength of the Laser Group & the Laser Electrical Napier culture was experienced fully at this difficult time.
Paul soon returned to work and started to seek business help.
Paul had heard about The Icehouse and was keen to start rebuilding the company almost from scratch.

Reihana returned back to work after 4 months.
At such a desperate time, Paul had the courage to invest in his future and took the plunge to begin, The Icehouse Owner Operator Business Management course.
After 10 months, Reihana was taking interest and kept asking questions about what Paul was upto.
Paul then decided that Reihana needed to start his Icehouse training.

Paul & Reihana became extremely aligned in their vision for the company and started to make real progress year upon year.
Laser Electrical Napier has gone from strength to strength.
In May 2016 Paul and Reihana bought the Laser Plumbing Napier franchise and began the company that is now known as Laser Plumbing and Electrical Napier.

Success can be measured by money and Laser have grown from a company turning over $700K to $5M.
But success comes in a lot of different ways & for Paul it is to continue working with his Son, leading a positive, culturally driven company and playing golf
every now and then.
The experiences that Paul has been through have given him great learnings that he loves to share with anyone who is willing to listen.


Jacob Kajavala:
Kajavala Forestry LTD, SwitchKites

Jacob Kajavala,  Ngāi Tuhoe Ngati Kahungungu

Managing Director – Kajavala Forestry Ltd & Switch Kites


Jacob owns and manages a large forest contracting company (Kajavala Forestry Ltd) based in Kawerau. And for something different, he also owns and manages an international surf brand – Switchkites.


Jacob speaks about his journey in turning around his father’s forestry business and growing it into a multi- million dollar Māori business.  His story is a great example of how mistakes can lead to a better understanding of themselves as business people, along with a clearer sense of where they’re going and how they’ll get there.


Jacob never wanted to run his father’s forestry firm. After a logging accident almost killed him, shattering his dream of becoming a professional windsurfer, he turned all his energy to growing the forestry business.  He quickly found that the genuine and deliberate development of people and teams was going to be the difference between business success or failure.


Jacob purposefully hired inexperienced but “hearty” people and set about training them to be the best forestry professionals in NZ. He also introduced positive values into KFL and reinvented himself as the values police.  Transforming the business and up-skilling his staff also gave Jacob the opportunity to get his head out of the day-to-day running of the business and the confidence to look for something new. With over 40 staff, KFL handles 5% of NZ forestry production.


That something new comes in the form of his new start-up business, Switch Kites, which manufactures and sells kite surfing equipment. A start-up company in 2011, Switch Kites now sells to 110 countries. Only 8 per cent of its business comes from New Zealand, with 82 per cent from the Northern Hemisphere.


Jacob is a founding member of Industrial Symbiosis Kawerau and lives on a small island with his family in Ohope.

Jacob’s tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Science degree from Auckland University & a post graduate Diploma in Business from Massy University.