Kia Ora Air Nz

Find the article on The Realness Kaupapa in the December Kia Ora issue here

When Damaris Coulter launched The Realness in late 2018, the online directory of local independent eateries was all about showcasing “the little guy, those owner-operators who grind away every day for the love of what they do”, while helping punters to spend their dining-out dollars ethically. Then Covid hit and Coulter, who formerly co-owned Auckland dining spot Coco’s Cantina, broadened the scope to include retail, accommodation, services and other categories, enabling users to eat, play, stay and shop with independent owner-operated ventures around the country. Another change is the advent of a Tangata Whenua-First Nations listing, with many members now including their whakapapa in profiles. “I’m Māori, I’m passionate about increasing equity for Māori, especially in business, so it was always the long game to implement that,” says Coulter (Ngāti Kahu). The site currently lists 300-odd businesses (including a handful in Australia, the US and Canada), but with the recent launch of a Realness app in seven languages the intention is to grow the market here then scale overseas. “We want to be everywhere,” she says.