Kaupapa: Helping the Community

The driving force behind "Read With Me" is Erica Welch, the production manager, whose goal for this project transcends mere business success. She envisioned a product that would genuinely benefit people, especially the tamariki of Aotearoa. With this kaupapa (principle) at its core, the Read With Me team (Zoe Burton, Erica Welch, Cayley Fox and Leah Fisher) united to create something truly unique and valuable for their community.

Major Achievements in 2023

In 2023, Read With Me achieved a series of impressive milestones that have not only showcased their innovative spirit but also made a positive impact on their community and beyond:

  1. Innovation Franklin Innovation Award: Their innovative product idea earned them the Innovation Franklin Innovation Award, accompanied by a trophy and $500 in recognition.
  2. YES Seed Funding: They secured $200 in seed funding from the YES program, allowing them to kickstart their venture.
  3. YES Challenge Success: Read With Me demonstrated exceptional punctuality and quality in their submissions for the YES Challenges, earning them a remarkable score of 58.75/60 points.
  4. Pitching Excellence: Their outstanding performance in YES Challenge 2 - Pitch garnered them the highest score in Pukekohe High School, an impressive 95/100 points.
  5. Local Market Sales: By September 3rd, 2023, they successfully achieved sales at five local markets and YES events, showcasing their entrepreneurial skills.
  6. Community Engagement: They shared their love for reading by conducting a captivating book reading session at Valley School on August 30th, 2023.
  7. Sales Success: Since the book's launch on July 31st, 2023, Read With Me has sold an impressive 89 books, proving the appeal of their product.
  8. International Outreach: They expanded their reach beyond New Zealand, selling over 10 books to target customers, including school libraries, in China, Japan, and Australia.
  9. Cultural Collaboration: Read With Me engaged in meaningful discussions and consultations with Kaumaatua Ted Ngataki, Matua Maaka Potini, and Whaea Raewyn Paewai at Ngāti Tamaoho. The result was an approval of the book idea and Te Reo Māori words, along with featuring the carvings atop Pukekohekohe hill. They received a letter of endorsement from Ngāti Tamaoho, emphasizing the cultural importance of their work.
  10. Online Presence: Their book is now featured on the Wheelers website, making it easily accessible for libraries and schools, thus reaching a broader audience.

    Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders

    Read With Me's journey exemplifies the power of youth, innovation, and community engagement. Their dedication to both education and cultural preservation is an inspiration to us all. As they continue to reach new heights, we eagerly anticipate the positive impact their venture will have on future generations.

    Pukekohe High School is immensely proud of Read With Me and looks forward to its future endeavours in making education fun and culturally enriching for tamariki everywhere