Lee Timutimu on his journey from IT Support to Tech Trailblazer

In a recent talk on New Zealand’s future workforce needs, PM, Jacinda Ardern, spoke 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. He’s the founder of Arataki, a guided walking app, which as one reviewer testifies, is ‘revitalising the tradition of cultural storytelling, one step at a time.’ 

Arataki provides an audio narration of the culturally significant sites around New Zealand, to help people learn more about Māori place names, landmarks, stories, proverbs and history.

The idea, Lee says, came from two decades of work within the tech industry, but also within the Maori storytelling space as well.

“I've spent quite a bit of time rolling in both of those areas, so bringing the two passions together, technology and Maori storytelling, was something I always wanted to do.

The real breakthrough was to make the whole thing an experience, says Lee.

Anyone who uses the app has to physically go to the site to unlock the information to learn about the area. The app uses proximity technology and GPS which means once the user is close enough to the landmark, they can unlock the information.

“We don’t see our content as data, we see it as treasure”

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

Like a lot of entrepreneurs who have made the leap to start a business, Lee has worked hard to get his business to where he wants it to be. “Cashflow has been a challenge for us since the very beginning.” he says.

Lee’ s plan to address that was two-fold.

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

“Having the amount of people sign up that we have, is great because it kinda validates our idea, and my decision to leave a good job in IT Support to be my own boss,” says Lee.





“MYOB’s approach to small businesses really resonates with me”

The other decision was to invest in like-minded systems that gave him insight and control into how Arataki is performing – like MYOB.

“MYOB 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,” says Lee.

And if Lee wants a more in-depth view, MYOB’s easy budgeting and cashflow reporting tools are there to help plan and map-out where the business is heading next.

“We’re really focused on trying to take Arataki to a global stage. 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.”

“The dashboard definitely helps me keep an eye on cashflow”

As an entrepreneur in the digital age, Lee also appreciates being able to access his MYOB from anywhere in the world.

“I was in Hawaii two months ago, and I did the payroll on the beach, which was quite cool,” he says.

Think, plan, build solid relationships and be true to yourself. When you hear Lee Timutimu’s philosophy on life, and work, it’s hard not to be inspired.

If I could give one piece of advice to aspiring business owners, I’d say be courageous. Put everything that you have into pursuing your vision, and do it with passion,” says Lee.

With that approach, the nation’s future’s in safe hands, don’t you think?  

What Lee loves about MYOB

Lee Timutimu photograph

Accounts automated

Now Lee has the tools to automate a lot of his bookwork. “The bank feeds set up means all your financial transactions are seamlessly transferred into your MYOB.”

Clear view of cash flow

Cashflow is one of Lee’s most valuable assets, so it’s important that Lee has complete visibility of where his business is. “Like any other business, I need to keep on top of what’s coming in and going out.”

Lee Timutimu photograph

Makes payroll easy

“MYOB is easy to use, all the tax codes are there and in a few minutes, it’s done.”

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