It has been a rise of epic proportions for Maraenui-based Kaitime. The pakihi (business) is owned and founded by Tina Sheree Rangi and partner Jonny Tawhara with the mission to fuel the next generation by ensuring every child has at least one sufficient meal a day that is packed with nutrients and all the good things that our region has to offer. They are the only local Māori-owned business specialising in healthy packed lunches.
Launching in February 2020 Kaitime mooted their idea to provide affordable and nutritious packed lunches via Facebook, testing the market by running a competition and giving away their first product for free. Fast-forward to October and they now have three sites across Hawke’s Bay and are a provider for the Healthy Lunches in Schools programme. They make thousands of lunches each weekday and have grown to a team of 20.
For Tina and Jonny the key to their successful launch was research and accessing the right support for them. Driven by values and motivated by the need they saw in the community, they knew they needed practical and purpose-fit start-up support. They utilised the KETE Programme through Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga specifically the business start-up module and looked to trusted friends and whānau. “We are so lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who are business owners. They have really helped shape what we have tried to create for the betterment of our community,” explains Tina.
While the business has clear commercial viability it also operates with elements of a social enterprise. With Kaitime still supplying some schools who are not eligible for the Healthy Schools Programme and ‘pay it forward’ options on their website. They keep prices affordable through donations and support from local businesses and food rescue programmes. For $5 a day, or $20 a week, they provide a varied weekly menu including fruit, yoghurt, sandwiches, scrogin and do hot meals once or twice a week depending on the season. Meals such as spaghetti bolognese, Mac’ n Cheese, chop suey or pumpkin soup. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are included at these price points and all the food is prepared in registered commercial kitchens by certified handlers.
Growth and expansion
Tina’s background as a marketing coordinator has stood Kaitime in good stead as they navigate their growth.
Frequent communication and a range of touch points have been effective in building their reputation for reliability and awareness in the marketplace of their services. “Social media is our key channel where we share simple, consistent messaging regarding our menus and community events. It’s so important to keep people engaged,” says Tina.
Their biggest challenges are the not uncommon, establishing a workable work-life balance and delegating while developing roles and responsibilities when the workload forced them to increase the size of their team in order to meet demand. Tina shares, “The biggest challenge so far would be finding enough hours in the day for us to have a rest. Letting go of full control and trusting others to do the work has been hard. Not because of their abilities but because of my own personality being a bit of a control freak.”
The Kaitime team are in expansion mode, with plans to open a takeaway outlet with a focus on Māori and Polynesian cuisine, Kaitime restaurant and catering service. These services will provide existing staff members with the option to work over school holidays when their lunches aren’t required as well as employment opportunities for others.
“Our plans are to go national. If we can feed more children in different towns through our original Kaitime kids then that’s on the to-do list for sure!”
Visit the Kaitime website (www.kaitime.nz)
Story supplied by Sally Crown of Tipu Ake Tonu Ltd –