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ĀteaDecember 5, 2019

Kirihimete gift guide 2019: supporting Māori and Pasifika businesses and creators

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Stuck for gift ideas? We got you.

The great news is: you’re spoiled for choice this year. The sheer number of high quality products being made or produced by Māori and Pasifika creators in Aotearoa means it’s easy to buy beautiful and local for friends and whānau this Christmas (and beyond). The bad news is, there are so many we couldn’t possibly fit them all in here. Check out our Kirihimete gift guide from last year, which is also chock full of treasures, and keep an eye on local markets and stores in your area. Found a gem? Comment on our Facebook page and let everyone else know about it.

Cards, prints, art and stationery

Ula and Her Brothers Kailao A5 Lined Notebook (left), I Iove you more than fried bread card (right)

Ula and Her Brothers is an Etsy store with a beautiful range of hand printed stationary, Christmas cards and decorations inspired by all of the motu of the Pacific. The notebooks are awesome, and so are the hand carved stamps.

Leoikinepule has packs of three Christmas cards emblazoned with Melino/Peace (Tonga), Alofa/Love (Samoa), and Fiafia/Joy (Niue). Another artist that you can only find on Instagram is Māori Mermaid, one of the artists responsible for the striking imagery that defined the protector movement at Ihumātao this year. She is selling her prints, message for details.


Toi Tangata sell prints by a wide range of Māori artists, including Darryl DLT Thomson and Miriama Grace-Smith. The site also acts as a gallery for painting, video and performance art and carving.

Alexis Neal’s ‘Something to Remember’ (left) / Paora Tiatoa’s Māori Bro Tallion (right)

The Poi Room has a wide selection of art for your walls. We think Alexis Neal’s ‘Something to Remember’ limited edition lithographs in red ink on tea stained paper look striking, as do Paora Tiatoa’s eccentric collages of vintage black and white prints.

If you’re in Auckland, there’s a rare opportunity on December 12th to buy artwork from some of the country’s best contemporary artists. All artworks are $200 and the funds raised go to Samoa House Library and Vunilagi Vou gallery in Ōtāhuhu.

Gifts and homeware

Kia ora/haere rā doormat by Moana Rd (left) / Raakei cushion in Rauru (right)

Raakei have a small but lovely range of cushions we love in white and calming blues, each representing a different tohu. Find them on Trade Me or Facebook.

Maureen Taane’s online design store Hapa has its own Hapa-designed range of stationery and homeware, as well as artworks and handcrafted items from local and international artists. Look for her store in Christchurch or shop online. We love the Kia Ora/Haere Rā door mat made from coconut hair by Moana Rd, and the rimu salad servers by Nelson-based furniture maker Jude Raffills.

Poi from Koakoa Design Collective, in sweet retro prints, are great stocking stuffers for kapa haka nuts young and old. Pro tip: poi are great for the wrists if you work on a computer all day.


A stunning example of a simple object made well, these handcrafted wooden combs by Tahana Mahi Toi are super stylish. Great for the hard-to-buy-for dad.

Support local Wellington business and buy your deep cut records and music tees from Creeps Record Parlour in Newtown, owned by former Deathray Records bossman Apa Hutt.

Kapu Tī Studio make delicious teas and, as a bonus, have a beautiful bilingual website.

Kaputī Studio’s Ngahere Sencha tea (left) / handcrafted wooden comb by Tahana Mahi Toi (right)

Thea Ceramics’ hand-thrown homeware comes in lovely muted colours. We’re quite keen on the pōuriuri coffee tumblers. Another nice addition to the kitchen would be Borrowd Earth‘s whakataukī bowls.

Perfect as a present for the Christmas party host or the discerning craft beer lover, Aotearoa Breweries from Kawerau have a range of craft beers in unique flavours, like the MATA Brown Boy, a full-flavoured amber ale with a dash of horopito. Available from all good liquor stores.

MATA Brown Boy amber ale from Aotearoa Breweries (left) / tee from Creeps Record Parlour (centre) / pōuriuri coffee tumblers from Thea Ceramics (right)

What to get the selfless greenie in your life? Trees That Count is a conservation charity where New Zealanders can fund or gift native trees that are given free of charge to community groups, iwi and councils. You gift a tree on someone’s behalf and they’ll be sent a special Christmas e-card. Also a great passive-aggressive gift for climate denier relatives.

Available from InnoNative Market: Tī Aroha tea (left) / Tai Tokerau honey (centre) / Hanga Kupu te reo Māori Scrabble tiles (right)

If you’re lucky enough to live in or near Whangārei, you’re moments away from an entire market of locally made products by Māori creators. InnoNative started as an annual market but now have a more permanent home, with pop-up markets every Thursday until Christmas.


Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing (left) / Sport 47 (middle) / Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance (right)

Te Tākupu, the publishing arm of Te Wānanga o Raukawa, have reprinted the beautiful Wāhine Toa Omniscient Māori Women Paintings with drawings by Robyn Kahukiwa and text by Patricia Grace. The updated version is now bilingual.

Ngoi Pēwhairangi is behind the greatest New Zealand song of all time (fight us), ‘Poi E’, but it isn’t as well known as the flamboyant Dalvanius Prime. Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi: a Remarkable Life (Huia Publishers) by Tania Ka’ai looks at the amazing life and achievements of the renowned composer. A QR code takes the reader to the lyrics and music of selected compositions that can be found in the book.

For the gardener, mātauranga fan, or any of your Ngāi Tahu cousins, Treasures of Tane (Huia Publishers) by Rob Tipa is filled with fascinating information on how Ngāi Tahu use their natives trees and plants, and some of the earlier colonial uses too.

Sport 47 (Victoria University Press) edited by Tayi Tibble is the perfect stocking stuffer for the cool kids in your life. Like a party with the best guest list ever, it includes a wānanga with Patricia Grace and Anahera Gildea plus new fiction, poetry and essays by a who’s who of contemporary Māori and Pasifika writers.

A winner at the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing by Sean Mallon and Sébastien Galliot (Te Papa Press) looks at 3,000 years of cultural history. As interesting as it is visually stunning.

Witi Ihimaera’s Native Son (left) / Wāhine Toa Omniscient Māori Women Paintings by Robyn Kahukiwa and Patricia Grace (centre) / Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi: a Remarkable Life by Tania Ka’ai (right)

Likewise, the beautifully designed Protest Tautohetohe (Te Papa Press) by Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns takes the reader on a journey through Aotearoa’s history of protest, one object at a time.

Some essential summer fiction reads: volume two of Witi Ihimaera’s autobiography Native Son (Penguin) and Huia Short Stories 13 (Huia Publishers), a collection of the best short stories from the 2019 Pikihuia Awards.

As ever, Bridget Williams Books’ BWB Texts make great stocking stuffers. Some of the recent highlights include Jade Kake’s Rebuilding the Kāinga, Morgan Godfery’s Māui Street, Lana Lopesi’s False Divides and Rachel Buchanan’s Ko Taranaki Te Maunga.


Pipi Mā Hura doll (left) / Kohine Kollection dress in Hine Ararau (centre) / Tākaro card game (right)

This time last year the Pipi Mā range of toys was all sold out! The popular plushies, who speak te reo Māori to your tamariki now come in the Mihi range (a smaller doll that uses basic greetings and farewells) and the original Kōrero range, dolls that love to talk and even sing a song. You can also buy card games, bags and lunch boxes.

Toiuru have a range of clothing, kawakawa products and jewellery – but we especially love the Kohine Kollection inspired by founders Matetu Herewini and Moerangi Black’s daughter and her love of Disney and kapa haka.

Tākaro is a fun card game somewhere between snap and memory. You have to match symbols to kupu Māori and the first to yell the right word in te reo Māori wins. It’s for ages four and up but also great for anyone at the beginning of their te reo journey.

Kids love stick on tattoos! And now you can buy temporary tā moko. Moko for Mokos tattoos teach kids about traditional artforms with designs like mangopare, Marama the moon and Tamanuiterā.

Kids books

Awatea and the Kawa Gang by Fraser Smith (left) / The Adventures of Tupaia by Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait (centre left) / My First Words in Māori by Stacey Morrison (centre right) / Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna by Darryn Joseph (right)

Awatea and the Kawa Gang (Huia Publishers) by Fraser Smith tells the story of a young boy and his friend Carrot the Parrot, who protect his family’s whenua from poachers.

If your kids were interested in the Tuia 250 commemorations they may want to read the incredible story of Tupaia, the Tahitian priest navigator who sailed onboard the Endeavour with Captain Cook on his first voyage to Aotearoa in The Adventures of Tupaia (Allen & Unwin) by Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait. Another book that celebrates our stories is Māui’s Taonga Tales (Te Papa Press), stories about taonga held in Te Papa museum told through the eyes of the trickster hero Māui. Each story is illustrated by a different young Māori artist.

A book with a wonderful message, Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna by Darryn Joseph follows a beloved teacher showing tamariki how to emulate their ancestors in being strong, generous, bold and compassionate as they follow the challenges of life.

My First Words in Māori (Penguin) by Stacey Morrison is a must-have for small people and whānau wanting to start their tamariki off with te reo Māori in the home. With pictures labelled in te reo and English, each page introduces the concepts and words children use as they first begin to talk, get to know people and explore the world around them.

If your kids loved last year’s hit books The Bomb/Te Pohu and Tuna and Hiriwa/Tuna rāua ko Hiriwa, Huia Publishers have some great prints for kids’ bedrooms of all their favourite characters, like Nan and Rambro, and Tuna and Hiriwa dancing in the moonlight.


Oxford Tee by Unco (left) / Sonson the Artist x Out Here Collaborating collection (right)

Meet Sonson the Artist aka 10-year old Pātaua, who creates bold works of art in the same school as his hero Jean-Michel Basquiat. His artworks aren’t for sale yet but Pātaua has collaborated with Out Here Collaborating on a whole lewk – hoody, t-shirt and track pants – in his signature colourful style.

One of the stars of fashion week this year Nash Karatiana aka Unco is inspired by “$2 shop bootleg wrestling tees.” The price tag is slightly higher than $2 but we reckon these are iconic pieces from a designer at the beginning of a meteoric rise.

MAC Vicious Society describe their style as “a mixture of smart attire with a twist of punk infusion”. We think the long-sleeve skate tees and university tees are a cool take on streetwear classics.

Morkins & Co take slogan tees to the next level. Get your friends hyped up with cool kiwaha like Hine Whakahihiko (hype girl), Kuini (obviously) and Me He Tē (like a boss).


For more excellent tees, NUKU, the multi-media platform that aims to profile 100 amazing indigenous women, has launched some merch. The Whare Tangata tee, designed by NUKU founder Qiane Matata-Sipu, celebrates the life-giving womb.

Cravass are a Tauranga based company doing awesome things with traditional designs. We love the moko kauae design on the cropped pink and black hoodies.

Kultured fanny pack in kikorangi (left) / MAC Vicious MVS Gen2 long sleeve tee (right)

Kultured also have a cool range of tees. The ‘Ngahau vibes only’ one is a favourite, but we really love the bumbags.

Jewellery and taonga

Whakapapa ring by Gtoi x Zoemou / rectangular pounamu slice pendant by Neil Adcock (from The Poi Room) / Tania Tupu wahine brooch (from Kura Gallery)

The Poi Room and Kura Gallery represent so many amazing jewellers and artists we couldn’t hope to name them all here, but make sure they’re your first stop for contemporary, well-priced wood, bone and pounamu carved pieces.

Artist galleries such a Masterworks and Fingers have high-end work by internationally renowned artists such as Neke Moa and Matthew McIntyre Wilson if you’re looking for something really special and unique.

For traditional manaia and heru, Bill and Anne Rawiri are a carver and weaver respectively and sell their wares at Māori Arts Gallery.

Lil Kina Head aka Hera Johns does the most amazing things with clay, like her glazed uku pendants.


Gtoi aka tā moko artist Gordon Toi has collaborated with jewellery label Zoemou on the incredible Te Hono range. We especially love the Whakapapa rings, an amazing gift to share with whānau.

For fans of statement earrings, this could be your best Christmas yet: Naja Black’s distinctive huia feather earrings, which are handcut from inner tubes destined for landfill, have been a big hit this year.

Designer and artist Shona Tawhiao is best known for her extraordinary woven, architectural shapes on the catwalk, but you can own a smaller piece of her art – earrings with her Tawhiao VII brand printed on military ribbon. Available for purchase through Instagram.

Naja Black feather earrings / Nichola Hinepūkohurangi + Mahuika Synergy Earrings / Shona Tawhiao TAWHIAO7 earrings / Koloa Taha Fa earrings

Inspired by the islands of Moana Nui a Kiwa, Aolele have a sweet, colourful range of tipani and aute flowers.

We love Tongan artist Koloa, whose earrings, rings and bracelets use tapa, ngatu and fala.

And of course you can’t go wrong with Nicholas fabulous range of earrings in bold colours and shapes.


Tahi Skincare Horoi cleansing oil (left) / Aotea kūmarahou soap (centre) / Be + Humble charcoal mud mask (right)

Face oils have become a hugely popular way to both cleanse and moisturise. Tahi Skincare use ingredients such as manuka, kawakawa, koromiko and harakeke, and come in gorgeous, minimalist bottles.

Noa Essentials have natural everyday products such as deodorants, sunscreen, balms and muscle rub. The kawakawa and mānuka repair balm is soothing for dry or sensitive skin.

If you’re looking to really spoil someone,  Be + Humble’s Humble Face Pack comes with their charcoal mud mask, hempseed face oil, kawakawa and manuka toner, mask brush, and face puff.

As the name suggests, Aotea are based on Great Barrier Island but you can get their all-natural products on the mainland too. The kūmarahou soap is a stylish addition to the bathroom counter, and they’re also known for their kawakawa balm and their high MGO mānuka honey.


Got some more tips for Māori and Pasifika businesses and creators people should check out this Christmas? Head to our Facebook page and let us know.

Keep going!