We are starting a revolution, a power revolution, its called Nati Power. This is a scheme which harnesses the collective purchasing strength of Ngati Porou all over Aotearoa, for the benefit of all our marae within the wa kainga.
Recently Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou and energy provider Contact Energy signed an agreement to establish the Nati Power scheme, which is modelled on a customer loyalty programme. For every Ngāti Porou household registered with Nati Power (they can either be an existing or new customer of Contact to register), $50 will be contributed by the company to help pay for the electricity and gas bills of our marae. The more people who sign up, the more contributions will be generated.
It has been estimated marae within Ngati Porou spend approximately $2000 to $3000 a year on their energy needs. That’s a huge cost for many marae committees and the haukainga to bear, in addition to the other expenses incurred when keeping the marae facilities operating. However paying the monthly power bills is crucial to ensure that when whanau return home for their family reunions or tangihanga, the lights are switched on, they have a cooked kai, and there is hot water in the cylinder to wash the dishes and have a shower.
The Nati Power scheme is the initiative of Toitu Ngati Porou, the cultural development and distribution arm of the Runanganui. One of Toitu’s main responsibilities is to support Marae development, and other projects they are currently working on include marae grants, marae insurance and marae conservation. At the end of May Toitu Ngati Porou chose the half time break of a Ngati Porou East Coast home game, to publically announce the Nati Power scheme. The gathering at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria provided an appropriate setting for this occasion – where ever the Coast plays the collective strength of the Iwi is demonstrated en mass. The multitudes of Natis around the country who turn up to support their Iwi team personify “Nati Power” and show we are a force to be reckoned with.
Amohaere Houkamau is the Chairperson of Toitu Ngati Porou and she says the Nati Power scheme provides a practical and simple way to support marae.“We recognise the burden that our marae are facing with their power bills, and this product is a way for all of Ngāti Porou, wherever they may live, to contribute to our marae and alleviate some of the pressures on the iwi kāinga. We all, both at home and away, benefit from the mahi of our iwi kainga in keeping our marae functioning daily.”
Toitu Ngati Porou would like to set a target of attaining 5000 customers to sign up to the scheme, from a total Ngati Porou population of around 72,000.If we reached this goal this means Contact would provide a contribution of $250,000 a year to our marae. The power bills of fifty of our marae would be paid,and any left-over funds could potentially be used to collectively pay the insurance of all our marae. This would take a huge financial pressure off our marae whanau.
The Nati Power scheme also provides personal benefits for the consumer. Each household receives a 22% discount ontheir power bill if they sign up, and also pay online and on time. For the marae to receive a contribution from Contact, the customer must still be registered with Nati Power on the 31st of December 2014.
“The scheme represents a win – win opportunity for all,”says Amohaere. “Not only is this scheme a winner for our marae, but the customer also benefits by having a good deal on their electricity or gas bill, while also feeling good about making a contribution back to home.”