Written by:
10 Jul 2015

Makaretu Farms Earthmoving is a Hiruharama, Ruatoria-based business owned and operated by Mateawa Keelan and Stephen Smith. 

Mateawa (Ngati Porou) attended both the Mai Biz and Kiwa Slam workshops in Rangitukia to learn the necessary entrepreneurial skills required to establish their new business venture on the Coast. She says, “For the last ten years until very recently, I’ve been working on our family farm while my husband Stephen was away working in Australia as an earthmover. We started this business so that he wouldn’t have to go back to Oz, working in the mines for another ten years.”

The couple have invested heavily in their fledgling business – purchasing equipment such as a digger, a transporter and a truck. Their potential client base extends from East Cape to the Wairoa region and includes farmers wanting tracks and dams built and cleaned up, to other businesses or landowners needing to develop essential infrastructure such as drainage and roads.

The workshops came at an opportune moment says Mateawa. “We got expert advice and developed more knowledge about how to set up our business properly. When you ‘re dealing with a lot of money, there’s also a lot of risk involved.”

Mateawa says the Mai Biz workshop gave her and the other participants the inspiration and confidence to believe that creating an enterprise on the Coast was not only viable, but also potentially very profitable. “Although the businesses our teams created were make-believe, we realised that it wasn’t too much of a stretch if they were turned into reality. Our business ideas were all homegrown and made creative use of the existing resources and environment we have around us, which made sense money-wise. When you don’t have much to start with, or access to capital, you have to be practical and make the most of what you have. We appreciated that people out there would love to experience what we have to offer, and will pay for it.”

However, she says she is mindful of wise advice from one of the Mai Biz judges. He said, ‘It’s alright to have it all down on pen and paper, but at the end of the day if you don’t do the work then you don’t have a business. You might have done some great thinking behind it, but you have to do the hard yards,’ and I believe every word.” 




















Makaretu Farms Earthmoving

Contact: Mateawa Keelan and Steve Smith


Tel: 06 8648899

Mob: 0279097866 

Tukuna mai o whakaaro