My name is Nita Maaka, I was born in Wellington and my whanau are from Nuhaka, East Coast – Ngāti Kahungunu.

I started Raw Pawz in November 2010, leaving my full paid employment to offer other pet owners a selection of raw meats where they could also purchase on-line and have it delivered to their door.

Our first task was developing an e-commerce website at a reasonable price, then attending every Farmers Market in the Bay of Plenty to get our brand out there.  The first 24 months was very hard and I had to resort to working night shift at a pack house here in the bay.

Fast forward 7 years and we are now in a commercial property and we employ 5 part-time staff.

Our biggest challenges were getting our brand known and followed, as we did not have a huge marketing budget, ever.  We had to be inventive with our product line, and really listen to what our customers liked as far as service and product.

Learning as we grew about the issues that pet owners have, and also keeping ahead of the game has been the most interesting and rewarding part of Raw Pawz for me.

Our brand has a good reputation, and for us being able to provide a product that changes the lives for cats & dogs means a lot.  For the future we are working on sustainability to continue to do this for our clients.  Our immediate threats are corporate companies taking over the market, our clients help keep us in the game and it is our responsibility to keep our place!

Being able to work with Poutama Trust has helped us move to a new level, we have been able to upgrade our cold storage and machinery.  This in turn means our productivity has increased by over 100%, our staff now have a better work flow and there is less heavy lifting involved.  This is a great move towards our sustainability plan.

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