Peleti is a well-known barber in his community and we are privileged to have him as part of our team. He has been in the barbering industry for over 6 years now and has recently joined our Premier campus in Napier as a barber tutor.
He also runs his own barbershop but his barbershop has become much more than that to the predominantly Māori and Samoan community of men (and the occasional women) who are customers there. Somehz Touch Barbershop is a sanctuary for men in the area and doesn’t involve alcohol. Peleti has known many of his clients for years, and some have been regulars since they were kids. On any given day, men of all ages patiently wait for their time in the chair. They travel to the small, unassuming barbershop from all over Hawkes Bay for a buzz and a chat.
We asked him a few questions about how he started in this career and what drives him.
How did you start in the barber industry?
A good friend (John Whiunui) in high school introduced me to cutting hair.
‘We used to cut the students at Hastings Boys High School in the Gym Changing rooms. Cutting hair then developed to be a hobby of mine’.
I taught my younger brother, Someh, who became Hasting Boys High School barber.
He committed suicide in 2012. Prior the funeral, my family and friends lined up for haircuts,
I said to them ‘Can’t you see I’m trying to mourn the loss of my brother and all you want is haircuts?’
I vowed to everyone in that room, That those were going to be their last haircuts from me.
I was Quitting Barbering! As I commenced the first haircut. I stumbled into a ‘Place of Peace’. Realising even though my real life was upside down, as i was cutting hair I felt happy and Safe. It was like I found my place of Solace.
Also realising how powerful barbering can be.. How you can influence the clients day, for the better or for worse. Give a good cut they feel good. Give a bad cut their day is ruined.
After the funeral I went to look for an apprenticeship, I needed to know more about barbering. But unfortunately I couldn’t find assistance. So I continued cutting from my Garage. I did not have the luxury of a finding a Barber course, or a Mentor. YouTube wasn’t around back then.
I would say this was a skill from God, because all of my learning was from my mistakes. ‘Trial and error’.
What's the highlight of your career so far?
I used to sneak backstage at concerts to cut artists hair and now I’m the official barber for those concerts. We share our stories. I love hearing my brother’s name in a shout out at the concert.
How long have you been tutoring? What do you like love most about your job now?
I started in 2018. I love that I get to meet people from all walks of life.Learning more about Barbering Foundation. Learning from Greg (our other Napier barber tutor) Instill some skills and values, fuel passions.
When you are not at work, where would we find you?
At my barber shop "Somehz Touch Barbershop". and spending quality time with my beautiful wife and three incredible boys.
What’s your best advice to someone entering this industry?
Identify Values that resonates with your personal journey. Ensure that this is your passion that makes you happy. Once you have Discovered your Passion, you will never 'work' a day in your life.
Over the past few years Peleti has won a number of awards:
Barber Craft 2016 - Open Pattern Category
Barber Craft 2017 - Open Pattern + Creative Category
Barber Craft 2018 - Masters Pattern + Creative Category
2017 Pacific Community Leadership Award for HITO at "Got a Trade, Got it Made" Awards