Episode 43

Published on:

4th Dec 2023

Wai Mānuka's awesome adventure: From the America’s Cup to Tokyo's taste buds

Joe Harawira is co-founder of Wai Mānuka, a premium non-alcoholic beverage company. We talk about Wai Mānuka's success in both New Zealand and Japan, their collaborations, and their plans for expansion. Join us as we dive into the world of business relationships, trust, and partnerships in Japan. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How the idea for Wai Mānuka came up at a New Year’s BBQ
  • Taking chances that appear in your path even when you might not be ready
  • Strategic partnerships that match your brand values
  • Joe’s number one gold nugget for brands thinking about exporting to Japan
  • The future of Wai Mānuka and where you can find it in Japan 
  • Catherine and Jayne share their observations on what helps Kiwi brands do well in Japan 

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About Joe

Joe Harawira is a Co-founder and Managing Director at Wai Mānuka, New Zealand’s premium, non-alcholic beverage that was made throughout a global pandemic and launched as an official supplier of the 36th America’s Cup. Since then, Wai Mānuka has expanded across New Zealand and began exporting to Tokyo. The goal for Wai Mānuka is to become an iconic Kiwi brand by celebrating the finest of New Zealand and Māori culture on the world stage.

Connect with Joe




Jayne’s Diary: https://amzn.asia/d/06jGuWR 

Catherine’s Diary: https://amzn.asia/d/aH9wNre 

Time stamps

00:00 Jandals in Japan with Joe Harawira

05:49 Wai Mānuka becomes an America’s Cup beverage

09:53 The importance of alignment of values

15:41 Expansion to Singapore as a stepping stone to Asia

18:50 The importance of connections and partnerships

24:47 Joe’s number one tip 

28:17 Keys to success

Jandals in Japan is brought to you by Catherine O’Connell Law and PodLaunch with Jayne

Connect with Jayne and Catherine

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jandals-in-japan-podcast/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jandalsinjapan/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jandalsinjapan 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@jandalsinjapan 

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
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About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.