Teenage girl from Ahipara builds community through market initiative

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As an Ahipara teenager, Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera is making his mark in the Far North entrepreneurial space. Photo/ Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera.

While other 15-year-olds watch TikTok, a teenager from the Far North organizes community events and runs his own photography business.

Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera (Te Rarawa) from Ahipara is a rising star who, since early 2022, has been bringing his community together by hosting market days to help promote and support local businesses.

Goodhue Wikitera’s Market Day events take place along the Ahipara foreshore and began in January when the Ahipara Coast Patrol was looking to raise funds to help support their organization.

The rangatahi (youths) decided to enlist local businesses to help support the fundraiser and organized everything from promoting the event to ensuring that all merchants were informed about the event.

Goodhue-Wikitera said the response to the event went so well that he decided to hold a few more market days to keep the momentum going.

“We had quite a few people manning their stalls at the first market day event, so I thought why not do it again,” he said.

“I have no experience in organizing events so I just did it, but it’s been good to bring local businesses together and meet a lot of nice people and see them supporting their local businesses who have doing things harshly due to Covid19.

“I mainly promoted it on Facebook which had a great response and it’s been good to help merchants make extra money and the community to support them.”

Goodhue-Wikitera is also a small business owner who started her own photography business, Ahiparadise, two years ago.

What started as a hobby of sharing landscape portraits of Ahipara online turned into a demand for his snaps and eventually Goodhue decided to turn his images into a calendar.

Since then, he said he has sold around 1,000 calendars which sell for $15 a pop and also designs mugs and other accessories.

Goodhue-Wikitera said her aunt Noeleen Robson was a big influence on her path to success.

“She saw my potential and helped me start my business with a seed loan to buy stock, then mentored me and taught me how to successfully run my own business and manage my money,” said said Goodhue-Wikitera.

“His start was what really helped me on my journey.”

If that wasn’t enough, the up-and-coming entrepreneur is currently campaigning to bring a canteen back to his school and is also hosting a special Matariki art exhibition at the Ahipara Golf Club where local artists can showcase their work.

Reuben Taipari has known Goodhue-Wikitera for a while and reached out to Northland Age to share the teenager’s story.

Taipari said he was inspired by the maturity and drive of Goodhue-Wikitera and felt he was one to watch in the entrepreneurial space.

“We like him here and without putting too much pressure on him I think he will go far,” Taipari said.

Reuben Taipari says Lennox is an inspiration to the community.  Photo/ Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera
Reuben Taipari says Lennox is an inspiration to the community. Photo/ Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera

“Lennox has a good attitude and as a youngster in Ahipara it just shows you that we have a good little community with a lot of good young people around.

“I have great faith in the success of our young people and it is our job to support our next generation in any way we can to help them succeed.”

Goodhue-Wikitera studied business in school, but according to his mother Kelly Goodhue, he was always entrepreneurial.

“He was always a hands-on type of kid and always into something, whether it was rongoa lessons or things like that market day,” she said.

“I’m very lucky that I don’t have to worry about him being distracted by negative influences and being able to put his entrepreneurial skills to good use.

“He’s also quite mature and has a lot of confidence and the ability to use his initiative – ‘I’m very proud of him.

Goodhue-Wikitera said that while he was unsure where life would take him after school, he hoped he would end up staying in Ahipara.

As for its market day events, these will be suspended over the winter, but will be operational again once summer kicks in, with plans to hold one every weekend.

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