Bridgette Tapsell – Ngāti Whakaue me Ngāti Pikiao ōku hapu, (He uri o Ngāti Raukawa)
The time was right for Aotearoa to have a Māori-focused PR agency, says Bridgette Tapsell, owner of the newly launched Whare PR.
After 15 years managing and owning Village PR, Bridgette opened Whare PR creating a sister brand to Village that would service clients who wanted to access a specialised skillset of iwi communications and tap into their collective networks.
Twenty years ago, Bridgette was approached by Māori Women’s Development Inc (MWDI) who needed a PR person who understood Māoritanga. At that time, people with Bridgette’s combined skills were thin on the ground.
Vanessa Scott, who worked in management for MWDI then says Bridgette has a deep understanding of how difficult it is to promote Māori issues in a positive light.
“Back then Bridgette set out a media plan with local and national media, which enabled those women to share their stories and promote the upcoming Awards. This put MWDI “on the radar” with media organisations in a cost-effective manner.
“I can highly recommend her team for their communication skills and understanding of Māori business,” says Scott.
Recently, Whare PR showed Aotearoa a masterclass in PR with their handling of the communications for the Royal Visit of the Duchess and Duke of Sussex at Te Papaiouru Marae, Ōhinemutu.
Mahi included liaising with a large contingent of national and international media, preparing all of the material, ensuring cultural messaging was prepared, delivered and managed.
“Media accounts of what took place had experienced royal tour media professionals recounting that it was the most culturally profound and professional experience they had witnessed or been part of. Feedback from government officials and our own national media reinforced that Te Arawa and Rotorua had done the nation proud. Thank you Bridgette and Whare PR,” says Monty Morrison, Co-Chair, Te Arawa 2018 Royal Visit Committee.
“We also had wonderful awhi from the Council’s PR team, Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble and the Royal Visit Committee to pull this off,” says Bridgette.
Bridgette also owns the well-known agency Village PR with clients including New Zealand Avocado, Destination Rotorua, Tatua Dairy Co, Live+, Golden Homes and 5+ A Day. “Our clients at Village have been so encouraging of Whare PR, it is time for our business whānau to expand.”
“My heart fills when I read the bios of my Whare PR team. I have never seen a PR firm put pēpeha for their people on their websites. When I grew up the media narratives were run by Pākehā, I am so glad in my lifetime to be able to represent Māori within the media – PR is such a powerful tool for persuasion and changing perceptions.”
Whare PR weave good wairua, Te Ao Māori and top level communications expertise together to form a dynamic agency ready to work with like-minded businesses and organisations to further Māori culture within the commercial world.
“We are all at various stages of our te reo journey, so being able to korero Māori at work is really helping us use our language more,” she says.
A campaign Whare PR created for The 5+A Day Charitable Trust involved engaging Māori fusion chefs at Pūhā & Pākehā to create a traditional recipe with a contemporary twist. Whare PR sent a hamper of traditionally-used produce and a recipe card for the Pūhā & Pākēhā recipe to 15 media and influencers. Included in the package was a poster in Te Reo Māori.
“We engaged Niki (account director at Whare PR) and her team to promote the benefits of eating 5+ A Day throughout Māori Language Week and were thrilled with the results; this was our most successful campaign of the year,” Paula Dudley – The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust, General Manager.
Bridgette acknowledges Tommy Kapai for suggesting Whare PR as the name for the agency. “As soon as he said it, I knew that was the name – the House of PR, made me laugh. It also nicely fits with Village PR – he’s a clever dude!” She also credits Kim Jackson for the website design and logo. “We have had so much positive feedback on this. It took a long time to make all of those decisions for what look and feel would represent our āhua, but she nailed it.”
And of course, Whare PR’s clients and her team (read all their pēpeha on our website!).
“Whare PR is a hub for communication specialists to hui and hone their talents and be amongst people who are like-minded. This PR agency is for future Māori generations, to ensure we own our stories and narratives within the media space.”
Bridgette says she has been a recipient of Poutama’s support twice now. “As Māori we aren’t hot-housed for business success, we have been too busy trying to survive. Poutama exists to help us thrive. Outside of financial support, I have most benefited from the personal emails, events and the knowledge that they have my back and care. I’m really grateful for their important role in strengthening the Maori economy and our people”.
“Makahia he kohatu i runga i ngā wai hei waihanga i te tini o te pupuhi.” Cast a stone across waters to create many ripples. Titiro ki tō matou Pae tukutuku hou (check out our new website) – wharepr.com.