Xeroes are real people with a real passion and purpose. They make a difference by leading the way and creating opportunities. There is also a local legend within the Hawke’s Bay that lives and breaths these values: Henare Ngarea O’Keefe.
Henare, alongside his wife Pam, has fostered over 300 children. He has been a Duffy books in home ambassador, and a Hastings District Councillor. He also runs Te Aranga Marae and community garden – an urban Marae for all people, regardless of tribe, race or religion, and was the Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year 2012.
Xero Hawke’s Bay has taken the opportunity to partner with Henare. We are working with him to engage, delight and inspire others to do the best work of their lives. We aim to make a positive impact on our community, and encourage others to rewire the way they think, work and live.
Henare spent a morning with us last year, for Cultural Day, telling us his story and life lessons. He reminded us that no matter how big we, as individuals or organisations grow, we should never forget our roots. Teaching us that mistakes are growth tools that highlight the way forward and shift our thoughts and ideas. Without them we would never discover alternative solutions.
Whilst Xero continues to grow and diversify at an exciting pace, throughout it all, we never forget that we are a company that was born to create beautiful software solutions to help make business easier. When we try new initiatives we take the fail fast approach. We move on from things that are not working, listen to the feedback of our users and work towards new creative and innovative ideas and solutions.
Henare also shared with us us that the reason he worked with youths was because they are our future. Whilst we are creating new pathways, we need to convince the youth of today to travel such paths. Otherwise our innovation, creativity and efficiencies will be lost.
Xero is committed to helping the youth of today into the workforce to continue to dream big and invent better ways of doing business. So with the help of Henare and his connections, we worked alongside the Hastings District Council Youth Connectors team to put 5 keen youths through a work preparedness course to bridge the gap of employment.
We shared insight into our team and culture. We also ran through key tips and tricks when is comes to mastering interviews. Tthe maturity and resilience of the young adults who took part blew us away. We wish them all the best in their hunt for employment. In fact, we know one of the group had an interview later that day and was offered the role!
Marae and community garden
Henare openly shared his intimate life stories, lessons and learnings with us and connected us with others we could help. In return, we relished at the opportunity to show Henare the story of Xero and how we are much more than just a software company. We were privileged to spend a day at his marae and community garden volunteering our time to clean the gardens. We hoped that this would free up the valuable time of Henare and Pam to do what they do best – help others!
Their garden grows fresh fruit and produce for anyone in our community. It’s a space where others can come together and reap the rewards of working collaboratively. We were able to illustrate to them that Xero is here to help small businesses, to work alongside them connecting them to who can help. Whether it’s their banks, their advisors, their mentors – we were able to show them that working as connected communities we can own, drive and deliver the best work of our lives to make a difference to others.
So the message from team Xero Hawke’s Bay is that we are here to help. We care about you, not just your transactions! So reach out to a neighbour, a friend, a colleague and let them know you are travelling their journey with them and are there to help. By working together we can help shape the future into one of collaboration, connectedness and growth.