Born and raised in Te Arawa, the entrepreneur Wetini Mitai-Ngatai started his career teaching at Rotorua Boys and Western Heights High School, before lecturing at Waiariki Institute of Technology.
An internationally renowned kapa haka exponent, Wetini’s first culture group was Ngāti Whakaue, followed by Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao. In 1994 Wetini and Irirangi Tiakiawa Tahuriorangi started the group Te Mātārae i Ōrehu. Led by Wetini, who has won the male leadership title at four Matatini Festivals, Te Mātārae has won the national kapa haka title twice.
In 2002 Wetini founded Mitai, a Māori cultural performance and tourism attraction at Fairy Springs (Te Puna o Tūhoe), Rotorua. This whānau owned, oriented and operated business is in its 10th year of successful operations.
Wetini’s next venture was Snooze Cube in partnership with Larry Swan. Snooze Cube rents spaces in airports and installs sleep rooms for hire by transit passengers. Snooze Cube has 10 rooms in Dubai airport and is preparing to install another 26. The company is scouting other potential spots, and in discussion with interested franchisees.
A Te Arawa grounded international entrepreneur come ahi kā, Wetini commutes between Rotorua and Dubai: running Mitai and Snooze Cube, keeping up Te Mātārae kapa haka practices and keeping his whānau happy.