Te Arawa me Tainui ngā waka Te Arawa me Ngāti Raukawa ngā iwi Ngāti Whakaue me Ngāti Pikiao me Ngāti Wehi Wehi ngā hapu He whakapapa āno tōku ki Rarotonga, ki Mangaia hoki. Manarangi me Bennett me Hakaraia ngā whānau Tēnā koutou katoa!

This week, we are thrilled to profile one of Waikato’s most influential leaders in both business and governance, Riki Manarangi. Riki is a Waikato Pacific Business Network member and has generously dedicated his time supporting the Network, including fulfilling the role of co-host, for our recent successful Inaugural Celebrating Waikato Pacific Businesses event last September.

Riki, proudly Pasifika (Cook Island) and Māori, is a University of Waikato graduate holding both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Law as well as Strategic Management with first class honours, and an enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court and IAP2 as well as PRINCE2 certified. Active at a strategic level over the past 15 years, Riki has been in various Governance roles for a number of sporting organisations. Riki was formerly the Deputy Chair of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce and Board Member for the Māori Partnership Entity (Te Rangitūkupu) for APEC. Currently he is the Chair for the New Zealand Shareholders Association (Waikato), a Trustee of Single Parent Services Waikato and the National Chair of Birthright New Zealand a 65-year-old organisation with over 10 affiliate branches across the country that supports solo led whānau.

Riki started as the office manager for a civil construction firm for 4 years before Project Managing Business Continuity right across the University of Waikato for 2 years. He then went on to manage the Bylaws and Policies for our city at Hamilton City Council for 4 years before venturing into the space of entrepreneurship, a space he has always felt most connected to. Day-to-day, Riki is the Founder of Aotearoa NZ’s first peer-to-peer delivery platform Lonelyseat.co.nz which connects kiwis wanting to send stuff, with kiwis heading that way. Lonelyseat.co.nz has recently received endorsement from Waka Kotahi ‘NZ Transport Association’ from its innovation arm.

“The premise is simple,” says Riki. “If you have spare space in your vehicle and are going somewhere, you can carry something for other Kiwis who will give you money towards your cost to move around.” He says the cost of shipping items with Lonelyseat.co.nz door-to-door is at least 50 per cent cheaper than using a traditional service. “Using traditional logistics options, sending a single desk chair from Auckland to Christchurch could cost around $150, whereas our pricing tool recommends around $70,” he says.

“Being Pasifika and Māori, we see just see the world as being heaps more interconnected,” he says, on his strong focus on sustainability. “I don’t see how things work in isolation which is why sustainability as a concept just resonated with me given it is understanding one thing from an environmental, cultural, social and economic perspective.” “I have always had a massive interest in repurposing things and anyone that knows me will know that which meant getting things from other parts of the country was generally going to cost more than the item itself.” “It’s clear that Kiwis are looking for a better logistics solution,” says Riki.

“Drivers and senders decide the worth of a spare space, but Lonelyseat provides some guidance.” He says that to keep the Lonelyseat  community safe, drivers are vetted when they sign up and a review system moderates both senders and drivers. Senders can keep track of their items with live GPS tracking. “Lonelyseat.co.nz is like carsharing, but instead of making small talk with strangers in your car, you get paid to just carry their stuff,” he states. “New Zealand is a car country and we’re giving people a simple way to cash in on their long journeys and offset both their fuel cost and our country’s carbon footprint.”

Fakafetai lasi and Ka pai te mahi Riki Manarangi, for your invaluable contribution in both the business sector and community in the Waikato.

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