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Tapping into talents of our most incredible resource: mothers

A 155 community project that works with Whangārei mothers to tap into their business-building dreams and aspirations is flourishing as it enters its second year.

Māmā Moving Mountains’ coordinator Shirleyanne Brown says: “Our objective is to lift mothers who are at home, with their beautiful babies, out of poverty. We are doing this by looking at their dreams, aspirations and desires and then supporting them with the resources to make it a reality.”

Participants, who often face similar challenges and share the same aspirations, come together each week to support and celebrate who they are.

“It’s a lovely nurturing place for wāhine to realise and share their dreams and aspirations. We focus on mums because they have absolute talent and are an incredible resource of our nation.

“When you’re at home, you’re looking at how to make things go further, recycle and do things differently. This kind of thinking translates well into business.”

Developing successful small businesses

Shirleyanne says a number of creative digital micro-businesses are evolving among participants following this year’s rahui. 

Micro businesses are companies with fewer than five employees.

“The lockdown sparked passion in a lot of our wāhine, to consider what else they can do in terms of income.”

One concept in development is digital greeting cards that can be translated into Māori. 

“We then connect our mothers with people and businesses who can support them in refining the product.”

My Why sister programme launches

Another achievement for Māmā Moving Mountains is the recent launch of My Why, a six-week peer-to-peer facilitated process for wahine to set and achieve goals.

Shirlyanne says this is a “great milestone” given the programme has been created by two Mothers Moving Mountains participants, Harlee and Kayla.

“The process allows participants to sit in their beauty as wāhine and to reflect on their goals, while giving them some tips, tricks and resources to support them in achieving these goals.”

Trade fairs for the future

Shirlyanne hopes the warmer months will allow her wāhine to host a trade fair where they share their products and business ideas with businesses, mentors and other successful entrepreneurial mums.

“We’ll bring in the people that can help them move that product and inspire them to persevere.”

If you are interested in participating in Māmā Moving Mountains or would like to support the participants in some way, please contact Shirleyanne at