so why do Māori disproportionately endure power poverty?
He created a power company to help vulnerable whānau. Now, Ezra Hirawani is fighting to keep his dream alive. Jehan Casinader reports.
Ezra Hirawani, the man leading a quiet revolution in the power industry, is dressed by Kmart. Every few months, he buys a fistful of black, white and grey T-shirts. A pair of shorts completes his work outfit, and he’s confident enough to rock up to meetings with high-powered executives.
“When I started in business, I decided to be fiercely pono. That means authentic. I can’t hide behind a flash suit or big words. Some people say to me, ‘You should dress up, because people will take you more seriously’. If I chuck on a shirt, I’ll do it because I respect you. But I won’t wear it to impress you.”
With his understated style, Hirawani flies under the radar – but he has a fascinating story to tell. The 29-year-old is the co-founder of Nau Mai Rā, New Zealand’s first Māori electricity retailer. His goal is to lift Kiwis out of power poverty, and his methods are unconventional.