Craig Tuhoro used to work for the big boys but now he's forging a path of his own. His company, Global Metal Solutions, fights it out every day on the world scrap metal market from our little corner of the globe.
There's a constant flow of metal through the Global Metal Solutions (GMS) yards in Hamilton. It's a busy, thriving operation. The guy that owns it is most likely to be found on the phone, talking to buyers from nations all over. "We export everything we touch," says the owner, Craig Tuhoro.
"Every day we're competing against the biggest in the world."
Craig started GMS six years ago. He'd been in the industry his whole life and was in charge of one of the big players, with employees in six countries, when he had a change of heart. "I decided that the path they were headed in and the path I wanted to go in were different so I left."
At the time, a couple of Craig's family members had been made redundant so he decided to start his own business and get the whanau employed. It was an interesting pace to be, scrap metal is one of the few remaining industries that hasn't been consolidated so there are lots of competitors, all going after the same business. Putting Craig in an even tougher spot, most of those competitors are funded by large corporate companies. He says, "Every day is quite hard because we're always under attack. Once you get your head above the parapet you're a target."
But today at GMS, seeing their big, well-organised yards full of expensive machinery and huge consignments of metal leaving all day long, it's clear Craig is holding his own in the market. For him, being a success is not just about survival, it's personal.
"Ultimately, we have to make money. These people we compete against, they get paid no matter what. For me it's about keeping our family and other staff employed. Also, being Mãori, there's a lot of pride in building something from scratch."
Craig didn't start out with Kiwibank, but at some point he needed serious investment and found Kiwibank ready to step up to the plate. "Kiwibank has been instrumental in our growth. Some banks want to pick the cherries – when you don't need their support they're all there, when you want them they're not there."
"We went to Kiwibank and said we need this and they were willing to roll with it."
"I know that they're New Zealand owned and profits are staying here. You see these other banks making all these profits and I think that's kind of scary. Kiwibank seems to be the home of all the good guys that used to be in the other banks because they have an opportunity to make a difference."
And they are. The company that started with nothing and boldly stuck its head above the parapet is showing that guts pays off. GMS turnover was up 50% this year on the last financial year. Proving that a company built on family and hard work really can challenge the big guys.
When Kiwi businesses join Kiwibank, Kiwibank joins them - we know that when it comes to your hard work, it's not just business, it's personal.