Young poi-maker named GirlBoss

A young businesswoman known as Dunedin's very own "poi girl" was thrilled to receive the top award at the GirlBoss Awards last week.

Potiki Poi founder Georgia Tiata Fa'atoese Latu, who has just turned 13, said she was "feeling good" about her latest accolade, the Supreme Trailblazer Award, which came with a prize of $2000.

She was particularly pleased she was able to get to meet the other nominees.

"I got to know the girls, which was really cool.

"All the other girls have such good projects and they are so inspiring."

GirlBoss, open to entrepreneurs aged between 11 and 18, celebrates young women who have a passion for their community and the environment.

GirlBoss 2019 Supreme Trailblazer Award winner Georgia Latu (13) hard at work making pois at...
GirlBoss 2019 Supreme Trailblazer Award winner Georgia Latu (13) hard at work making pois at Cargill Enterprises on Thursday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

Georgia has created and sold sets of poi to schools and businesses around New Zealand, with the help of her wider whanau, and sometimes receives orders for hundreds of poi at a time.

She started making the eco-friendly sets, with colourful braids, in her living room for a school fundraiser, and has won awards including People's Choice Award at the Soda Inc NZ Startup Bootcamp in June.

Georgia said keeping up with the demand made for a busy day, After school she went straight to work. Potiki Poi had just moved its office from the living room floor into Cargill Enterprises, in Dunedin, which employs more than 80 people with some level of disability in its four business units.

"We haven't quite got people from Cargill Enterprises working for us yet. We are just trying to get everything sorted out," she said.

She had had "heaps of poi orders from around New Zealand" , including Te Papa in Wellington, and the business had been going "really well" with her wider whanau on board.

Her mother, Anna, said she was proud of Georgia and her win had been "really fantastic".

She wanted to thank the public for their recent donations of wool, but said Potiki Poi still badly needed second-hand black wool, which was highly sought after by organisations placing orders.

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