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Kiwi Buckaroo takes the reins on top-quality horse gear and leather products

Ilana Cheiban struggled to find any horse gear that was New Zealand-made, good quality and exactly how she wanted it.

The Wairoa-based horse gear supplier figured that the only way she could solve her problem was to take the reins on the issue and make her own gear from scratch.

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Ilana is now supplying handmade, top-quality horse gear and leather products to local and overseas markets.

An incredible 90 per cent of her business is with overseas buyers. She now runs her business, The Kiwi Buckaroo, at the east end of Marine Parade next to the old Wairoa Meat Company.

Ilana moved to sunny Wairoa from the Hauraki Plains, and she has strong whānau ties to Wairoa through her grandfather Fulbert Pickett, who taught science and mathematics at Wairoa District High School in the 1930s.

She comes from a visual arts, fine arts and teaching background, but decided to make and sell rope halters in 2008 for extra money for her children.

Her father, Brian Pickett, was born in Wairoa, but left when he was just four years old. Ilana said it was good rekindling her ties to the district.

What Ilana loves about setting up shop in Wairoa is that “everyone here is just so lovely and welcoming”.

“I moved to a place where everyone is just so friendly,” Ilana said.

Ninety percent of her wool work is exported, and she says she can get hold of wool for taniko.

In her repertoire of work, she also makes mecate ropes, which are usually of horsehair and used for leading or tying as hackamore reins.

Ilana imports a lot of her leather, but she turns them into hand-made bags, belts and other accessories.

She also makes rodeo gear, polo gear, some equipment for polo cross, stockman gear, shepherd’s gear, knife pouches and much more.

Ilana says she’s also looking at developing a pig hunting collar for dogs.

Her business is on Marine Parade, next to the old Wairoa Meat Company. You can also like her Facebook page The Kiwi Buckaroo.

10 January 2018

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