John Roberts, born and bred in Riverton is of Ngāi Tahu descent and a father of six children. John and his wife Melanie worked their way up in the dairy industry to become self-employed sharemilkers. After 10 years of milking cows, they decided it was time to start up their own business.

It all became a reality after a visiting Australian relative saw an opportunity for John to import and sell the “FiiK Electric Skate Boards,” which are the latest trend across the ditch. After several phone calls and a meeting with the Australian manufacturer, a deal was struck and their joint venture became a reality. John imported a few of the boards and bought some ‘Ocean and Surf’ surfboards, accessories and parts from a Christchurch-based distributor. John and Melanie were fortunate enough to lease a small shop in Riverton and opened their doors to the public eight months later. They named their business “South Coast Skate and Surf.”

John and Melanie’s children enjoy skateboarding and are currently learning how to surf with the local surf school. John himself did a fair bit of skating as a rangatahi, so he supports his children’s interests in both surfing and skating and is now able to combine his passion with his business. On occasions the South Coast Skate and Surf shop has been able to offer sponsorship and prizes for local surf competitions.

There is no other surfboard retailer in Southland (the nearest is in Dunedin), and although they face competition from other internet retailers, a positive for his business is that prospective buyers are able to inspect the boards in person before purchasing. Advertising and marketing so far has been by word-of-mouth, recommendation and through family and friends. You can check out his website on:

During a visit to the Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka office, John was given a pamphlet on the Puna Pākihi Investment Model – a Ngāi Tahu initiative which offers new and existing businesses advice, funding, mentoring and support. From there John was encouraged to contact Puna Pākihi and spoke with Wayne Vargis, who gave him some valuable advice and is guiding them in the right direction. If you are keen to know more about this incentive, please feel free to contact Wayne Vargis: [email protected]

John and Melanie Roberts, owners of South Coast Skate and Surf.

John and Melanie Roberts, owners of South Coast Skate and Surf.