How Lee Timutimu went from
IT Support to Tech Trailblazer

The low-down on Lee

  • Founder of guided walking app, Arataki
  • Revitalising cultural storytelling with each step
  • Next step is to take Arataki to the global stage
  • MYOB gives him total control over his cashflow

Talking tech, storytelling and MYOB

Photograph of Lee Timutimu

New Zealand PM, Jacinda Ardern, has spoken of her desire to see the country become a leader in emerging technologies.

A place where “pioneers push boundaries to create models for others to follow.”

Lee Timutimu is one such pioneer.

Hi Lee, can you tell us a little about your business?

The goal is to help people learn more about Māori place names, landmarks, stories, proverbs and history.

How did you come up with the idea?

I've spent quite a bit of time rolling in both the tech industry, and the Maori storytelling. Bringing my two passions together was something I always wanted to do.

Things really started to happen when I decided to make the whole thing an experience.

"Our content isn’t just data,
it’s treasure."

Why was that a lightbulb moment?

Building an app meant we were instantly available in your pocket.

And because Arataki uses proximity technology and GPS, users need to physically go to a landmark site to unlock the information to learn about an area.

For me, there is no better experience than being at the location, taking in the atmosphere and hearing those stories as they’re meant to be heard.

Being culturally accurate is important, isn’t it?

Everything you hear and experience is based on our research and information gathered from local iwi, so we consider ourselves caretakers of cultural information.

"We’re caretakers of cultural information."

Photograph of Lee Timutimu
Adrian Willis setting up his beer taps
Cashflow is always a challenge for new businesses. How have you tackled that?

Firstly, we had to keep developing the product so we could keep signing up customers and generating revenue.

We’ve had a lot of people signup, which is great because it kinda validates the decision to leave a good job in IT Support to be my own boss.

The other decision was to invest in a system like MYOB.

How’s MYOB helped you?

It has everything I need to make informed decisions around cashflow. All I have to do is login and I can see what I need to from the dashboard, straight up.

And if I need a more in-depth view, MYOB’s easy budgeting and cash flow reporting tools can help me plan and map-out where we’re heading next.

"MYOB’s approach to small businesses really resonates with me."

Thanks, Lee! So, what’s next for Arataki?

We’re really focused on taking Arataki globally.

It’s an indigenous content delivery platform, so we’re going to go out into the world and share what we’ve built with other indigenous peoples.

Having financial data that helps us map that journey is critical.

What advice would you give to anyone else starting out?

Be courageous.

Put everything that you have into pursuing your vision and do it with passion.

"The dashboard definitely helps me keep an eye on cash flow."

Adrian Willis smiling

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