Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Auckland Plumber gives away $1000 to help small businesses

By Johnson Raela

Photo / Supreme Plumbing

Auckland plumber Rob Teina has struck a chord on social media this week with a $1000 cash giveaway.

“I need to give some money away,” was the first thing that came to mind when Teina woke suddenly at 1am on Monday morning.

“Covid-19 has hurt many small businesses, so I thought if I divide $1000 across the working week, that could help five different businesses across the country.”

People tag a small business in the comments section of Supreme Plumbing Facebook and Instagram, then at the end of each day Teina announces the winner of $200.



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A post shared by Supreme Plumbing Limited (@supremeplumbing_nz) on

“To some people $200 is not a lot of money, but it might be just enough to help cover an expense for a business that could get them through another week.”

The online giveaway was also a way of giving exposure to small businesses.

“People are seeing businesses tagged in the posts and hopefully they’re taking note so they can support these businesses too.”

Photo / Instagram @supremeplumbing_nz

Teina, a Cook Islander and father of two, established Supreme Plumbing in 2015. The company has taken a hit, but thanks to a successful 2019 and some forward planning, it has built up cash reserves.

“Our team could see what was happening around the world with Covid-19, so we prepared as best we could before lockdown and saved money to lessen the blow.”

All 10 staff at Supreme Plumbing have taken a pay cut. They each receive the weekly $585.80 Government subsidy then the company tops up their wages to 80%.

As plumbing is an essential service, Teina has been working during the lockdown.

“We’ve mainly been doing emergency work. It’s not much, but I’m thankful for the work we are getting.”

Teina dropped out of high school at 17. He picked up a labouring job which led to a four-year plumbing apprenticeship.

He then spent an extra two years becoming certified, before starting Supreme Plumbing with limited business knowledge.

Photo / Instagram @supremeplumbing_nz

Teina admits there’s only a handful of qualified Pasifika and Māori plumbers. He often gets private messages on social media for industry advice.

“Polynesian brothers see what I’m doing with my business and reach out for some guidance, and I happily give them advice.

“People think we [plumbers] are some of the dirtiest because of the spaces we work in, but actually, plumbers and tradies are some of the cleanest.

“We have to have high hygiene standards because we can’t afford to get sick and not work.”

This week the Government announced a suite of new measures to provide relief for small and medium-sized businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

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