Young businessman has eye for detail

Aparima College pupil Dom Riddell shows one of the photographs he took at Milford Sound.

THE past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions for Aparima College pupil Dom Riddell.

While the 18-year-old was “terrified” with the fact he was having his last week at school, he also was recognised for his achievements and talents.

Last week, he was named the Southland regional champion for The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) with his business Whenua Photography.

The company is dedicated to finding and photographing the best landscapes Aotearoa has to offer, using natural light to capture and print evocative and humanising moments to promote tiaki (caring for people and place) and mental well-being.

“When I was 13, it was a sad time of my life and I went to Mt Cook for a trip.

“I really loved it there so I decided to purchase a camera and have been taking pictures for the last four years.

“Photos have a quite cool effect on you – it is very special.”

In March, when the scheme was introduced at his school, he decided it was a great opportunity to start his business.

“I want to get some profit from my photography and share it with a wider audience. It has been doing quite well.”

To win the regional title, Whenua Photography completed a variety of business milestones during the year including validation, pitching, promotion, and sales challenges.

“It actually teaches how you can manage a business. I’m very proud and very grateful with all the help I received from all people.”

Since March, Riddell had sold about 1000 prints, which he described as a “good milestone” for his business.

But it was not only the scheme award he had achieved during recent weeks. Riddell also won a scholarship to study a bachelor in science at the University of Otago next year.

“It will make everything a lot easier for me.”

However, he said the photography would still be in his future and he would keep selling his pictures.

“Photography is gonna be with me is something I can escape into.

“My plan is work with my two passions working on the national parks but also taking pictures.

“That is my plan for now. Fingers crossed it will work out.”

  • To find out more about Whenua Photography, go to

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