Horouta Pharmacy: Kevin Pewhairangi

A couple of years ago Kevin Pewhairangi and partner Kasey Brown were up in Gisborne, visiting from Wellington, where they were settled and raising their three sons.

While they were here they saw a young mum pushing her pram through the rain, and upon stopping their car to see if they could help, found out that she was walking to a pharmacy to pick up a prescription. They picked her and her child up and took her to the pharmacy, but the situation played on their minds and ended up being one of those moments that was to change the course of their lives.

Kevin, Te Whānau a Ruataupare, grew up in Tokomaru Bay and had worked in the David Moore Pharmacy attached to the old De Lautour Medical Centre in his early days of being a pharmacist. Since living away in Wellington, the De Latour Road Medical Centre had moved to become Three Rivers, and while a new bunch of doctors had started a new medical centre in its place, the pharmacy premises had remained vacant.

Kevin and Kasey, who is also a pharmacist, were well aware that the young mum they had encountered was only one of many locals without their own transport who would have been feeling the loss of a pharmacy in the neighbourhood.

The seed had been planted. In Wellington, Kevin and Kasey’s daily commutes were 1 ½ and 2 hours respectively, leaving only weekends for family time with their boys. They knew that coming home to Gisborne would enable more time with their young family. They could also see that a Maori-run pharmacy would only benefit the hapū and iwi of Te Tairāwhiti. And so it was that they became business owners just over two years ago, opening Horouta Pharmacy in the very same place Kevin had first worked as a Pharmacist.

Kasey is also a pharmacist; a Wellington-born Samoan. She specialises in clinical pharmacy and works part time at Hauora Tairāwhiti, providing back up at Horouta Pharmacy when needed. Horouta Pharmacy then is uniquely positioned as a whanau/fanau-friendly pharmacy improving access to free professional healthcare and advice in its community.

The role of a pharmacist is changing. More than just counting tablets now, pharmacies can give vaccinations and some can prescribe. Kevin understands how important pharmacy access is in ensuring that medical care and treatment are followed up with after people see their doctor and it’s particularly important to him that Māori and Pasifika people have a pharmacy that meets their needs.

Horouta has a distinctly Māori and Pasifika flavour, in fact it’s the only Māori-Samoan owned Pharmacy in the country. This means you’re more likely to find Toi Māori than glamour stuff on the walls and shelves with locally-made kete and earrings and colourful harakeke potae alongside the popular Manutuke Herbs range, which originated here in the Tairāwhiti. Customers can kōrero with the pharmacist in te reo and Kevin is working towards fluency in te reo across all of his staff.

Which brings us to another local, who has been a significant force in enabling Kevin to realise his dreams over the past two years of being a business owner.

Kevin and Kasey had started out with an accountant who specialised in pharmacies, but they weren’t local and they didn’t hear from them until their taxes were due. Then along came James Burn, who had recently started a small business himself. While he was offering accounting services, he took a very different approach to the usual ‘distant accountant’.

The starting point taken by James was to find out what Kevin and Kasey’s goals were, not just in their business, but their personal aspirations too. And so the financial plan they devised alongside James was built around them spending time with their boys and using their skills to help our people both locally and nationally.

Kevin sits on advisory groups working with Pharmac, the Ministry of Health, and providing a Māori perspective on issues such as the Covid vaccine. Kasey is the Pacific Advisor to Otago’s School of Pharmacy and Kevin is the President of the Māori Pharmacists’ Association.

James’ role as their accountant is to give them the tools to reach their goals. They get a financial report every two months and James calls up to discuss how they are going. They find his reporting easy to follow, which shows them the areas they are doing well in, and those that need attention.

Empowering staff is important to Kevin, having positive memories of being looked after and a part of the team at David Moore Pharmacy under David Moore’s mentorship and support. They aspire for their staff to be fluent in Te Reo Māori, and are currently supporting their pharmacy technician to attend reo classes to learn.

As one of only 2% of pharmacists who are Māori, Kevin is adamant that the healthcare system needs change. He visits kura kaupapa to encourage rangitahi to consider pharmacy as a career and makes an effort to be at the table on advisory groups. He knows his day to day experiences need to be represented in those spaces, often dominated by an older and retired demographic.

Meanwhile, Kevin finds James Burn a good partner when it comes to helping him to keep it real in his own business. He says that James provides a personal touch that is usually lacking when it comes to finances, and Kevin likes it that their meetings take place at James’ home. They’re doing coaching sessions to plan for the year ahead, looking at past performance and the direction they’re heading, to make sure they’re on track to meet their goals.

And when he’s not in the pharmacy, planning with James or advising on boards, Kevin is probably jamming with his band, SuperFly Killa. You can find their EP on Spotify, and surely catch them live at a gig sometime soon?! Once they’ve finished recording their next EP perhaps.. And make sure you visit Horouta Pharmacy next time you’re in the neighbourhood, for a refreshingly local experience of the pharmacy model.

Thanks to our wonderful sponsor and accountant with the mostest, JBA Accountants & Business Advisors for getting us in touch with this inspiring local business and the choice humans behind it!

Story by Leah McAneney & Sarah Cleave
Photograph by Sarah Cleave

NZ Music Month in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa

It’s May, so it’s NZ Music Month! NZ Music Month is all about music from Aotearoa, and the people who make it. Radio stations play more local tunes, and we celebrate homegrown talent across the length and breadth of the country. So what’s happening locally? What does NZ Music Month mean to our local musicians and how can we support our local talent?

The NZ Music Commission kicked off NZ Music Month in 2000. There was plenty of great music being made but not enough people got to hear it, see it, or have it on their shelves. It’s marvellous to see how far things have come.

My music month started brilliantly with friends over for a birthday celebration, so out came the CDs and vinyl. I’ve got some great early NZ compilations on vinyl, being rather partial to Flying Nun bands and NZ punk. I was lucky enough to be given the book “From AK79 to The Class Of 81” as a prezzy, with great photos of the era by Andrew Phelps. What could be better? Maybe more music? Oh yeah, a gift voucher for Spellbound Wax, our very own local vinyl store. So I went in and got the classic Straitjacket Fits album Hail.

I asked some local musos for their thoughts on NZ Music Month and the local scene (follow the link to our website below for links to these band’s tracks and playlist links on Spotify):

Gana Goldsmith of UNI-FI thinks “the local music scene has really boosted in the last few years since Darryl took over Smash Palace and has live music every weekend. NZ Music Month for me is celebrating awesome kiwi musicians and their creative works but I reckon it should be celebrated all year around and not just for one month!”

SuperFly Killa started the month writing songs for their second EP. Kevin Pewhairangi gave us his local music recommendations: Tuari Brothers, Supreme Brother Sound, UNI-FI, Clown’s Kiss , Strobe & Kwick.

As an artist songwriter ErnieJ says that being involved in NZ Music Month makes him feel like he is contributing to a bigger kiwi vibe “Following Covid lockdown, Kiwi acts stepped up and demonstrated we have the talent. If local original music is given opportunity in front of an audience then chances are, we grow together”.

The man behind Spellbound Radio and The Spellbound Wax Company Deane Craw says he always tries to get anything from New Zealand on vinyl for the shop, “the local music scene has really ramped up after Covid, with more local bands touring, and commercial stations finally coming to the party”.

New Zealand music airplay on commercial stations was 21% in 2020. The industry began a voluntary Music Code back in 2002, when they played less than 10% local music. Their target was for commercial radio stations to play 20% New Zealand music. Not bad, but I reckon they can do better and follow in the footsteps of public, student and iwi radio stations, which are strong supporters of local content.

OK, I know, it’s getting a bit nippy out so you might not make it to all of the live shows. Luckily, there are a couple of other ways to hear our local talent. You may have heard local music playing at a cafe, restaurant, bar or shop lately. That’s because Lazy Fifty band manager Kerry Taggart put together a Gisborne Musicians Spotify playlist and got it out to local hospitality businesses.  You’ll know if they have the playlist from the poster displayed in their window. Your ears can feast on tracks from locals, including The Crumb Factory, The Karuthers Brothers and Tama Waipara.

Another playlist, heavy on music from Tairāwhiti and 100% NZ made is the NZ Music Scene playlist. You’ll hear locals UNI-FI, Superfly Killa, Sit Down in Front, amongst others.

I could go on forever and don’t claim to have covered the whole spectrum of local music. But if you’re keen to find a new favourite NZ band, Bandcamp is a great place to start if you’re keen to support local artists. Check out Bandcamp here.

Enjoy your NZ Music Month and keep an ear out for a new project brewing at Gizzy Local that’s all about shining a light on local music – Gizzy Local music. Coming soon!

By Leah McAneney

Photographs by John Flatt – Lightseeker Photography

Business Speed Dating – Tāiki e!

It’s normal to get nervous before a date, right? What about a business date? I’d signed myself up for Business Speed Dating, a business networking event hosted by Tāiki e! in collaboration with Gisborne Chamber of Commerce. I’d also committed to writing an article on it, so no backing out now. Sometimes you’ve just gotta put yourself out there.

The place is already pumping when I arrive at Tāiki e! Impact House in Treble Court on Thursday night. It’s not even the advertised start time of 6:30 pm yet. I thought the Gizzy thing was to arrive late? Everyone is chatting away and happy to include someone new in their conversation. Strangers approach me and introduce themselves. As a new face I am in demand! Oh cool, there’s wine! Beer. Juice. Pizza. These folks have thought of everything.

As someone who struggles to remember names, I’m grateful that people are wearing name tags. There’s one for me on the table too. I don’t have to muddle along by myself, everyone is really helpful. More gratitude when I see my name is spelt correctly.

It’s just as well Cain and Seda have a microphone to announce the start of the event and how the evening’s going to run. We’re getting pretty loud. Those of us with tags written in green go sit on one side. We have to stay put for the evening. The folks with the black name tags move around to the left. We have 5 minutes to find out a bit about each other. Get your business cards ready!

It’s all a bit of a whirlwind from there. In quick succession, I meet 10 locals, tell them why I’m there, and find out about them. Many have gained skills away from home that they want to share with Te Tairāwhiti. Have I said I was impressed yet? I’m impressed. There’s some innovative stuff happening in our quiet corner of Aotearoa.  I’ve never come across so many inspiring people who care about our community in one place before. Ever better, there’s plenty of crossover. Phil Kupenga hit the nail on the head, describing his goal to bring technology knowledge to the region. He said let’s be more future ready than shovel ready.

The event focus is on business networking in a fun and friendly environment. You can share your contact information and decide who you’d like to follow up with.  It’s a great way to boost professional networks, generate new business leads and find other skills and wisdom within the community. As they say,  It’s all about who you know.

The event is for anyone, budding or established entrepreneurs and anyone else interested in meeting new people and building their networks. The next one will be advertised on Taiki e’s Facebook page and you’ll need to register through Eventbrite.

Story & Photograph by Leah McAneney

Building Bands, One Night at a Time

It’s sorta obvious the current owner of Smash Palace Bar Gisborne, Darryl Monteith is a musician. As I walk in, he’s already on stage cranking out “History Never Repeats” by Split Enz, accompanied by his mate Mo. A young fulla and his dad have arrived at the same time, guitar case in hand, obviously here to play. Others, like me, are here to listen, to support budding musicians gaining their confidence, and perhaps experience a seasoned talent bust out something special.

Build-a-Band started about 2 years ago, and used to be on Fridays. The instruments are all on loan from local musicians, but bringing your own is pretty standard too. Electric guitars (including left hand), acoustic guitar, bass, drums, bongos, various percussion instruments…. all there. If you’re a bit shy there’s a post to stand behind, but that spot can get a bit crowded.

The original concept was that individual musicians get up and jam, some would gel as a group and go on to start a band. Darryl reckons there’s loads of musical talent in Gisborne and sees Build-a-Band as a way of helping to nurture and develop that talent. Mostly folks are happy to just come along and jam. Try out a song they’ve written. See what sort of reaction they get, or have that one time a week they are totally in the zone. It’s building bonds between local musicians who probably wouldn’t otherwise have known each other existed.

As we know, Gisborne attracts a few travellers, and even though our borders are closed we still have interesting folks from far off places passing through or basing themselves here. Some of them have proved to be accomplished musicians and thrilled to have a chance to play. On nights like that, Smash patrons get to experience something they may have to pay big bucks for in another setting. But this is Build-a-Band. Everyone’s welcome. The ages vary, the styles of music vary, the levels of experience vary, but everyone’s all about the music. As I head out the door there’s a call from the stage, “We need a blues guitarist!”

What: Build-a-band
Where: Smash Palace Bar, 24 Banks St, Awapuni
When: Every Thursday night, 7 – 11pm
Cost: Free – wouldn’t hurt to buy a beer while you’re there though!
Story by Leah McAneney
Photographs by John Flatt