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Image: Tina Tiller.
Image: Tina Tiller.

ĀteaDecember 15, 2023

Kirihimete gift guide 2023: cool stuff from Māori and Pasifika businesses and creators

Image: Tina Tiller.
Image: Tina Tiller.

It’s back again – the Kirihimete gift guide, a collection of picks from Māori and Pasifika businesses and makers that you can support by buying their beautiful wares for friends and whānau this Christmas – or any time, really.

This guide stands on the shoulders of giants, AKA our previous years’ guides. As always, there were too many things to include here, so make sure to check those out too. Happy shopping!


Some of us are slow ambling browsers, and that’s OK. These shops have put together selections for us to wander about, waiting for a particular thing to hit right.

Konei has recently opened a flagship shop in Manukau, selling Māori and Pacifica made beauty products, jewellery and gift friendly items like Kāri.

There’s InnoNative, one of the biggest and best markets for Māori makers based in Whangārei and online for the rest of us. They’ve got baby stuff, beauty products and rongoā, toys, taonga, kai and kākahu.

Hine Raumati, also in Whangārei and also online, has stationery, candles, pukapuka, bags and heaps of handmade earrings and mugs.

Mako Design is a small whānau business based in Ōtautahi, and stocked in shops around the motu (or buy online). They design and create contemporary Māori jewellery, art, and homewares, all of which are beautiful, and none expensive. Take their earrings, all cool and all under $31. 

Moana Fresh in Avondale is still as cool as ever, and the website has an “Under $100” tab, which is very, very helpful, though there’s still a lot of options to narrow down.

Iti, based in Rotorua, has a stronger focus on traditional Māori crafts and design, with taonga carved from bone, and harakeke products. 


Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole, the duo behind the full-scale crocheted wharenui, have an online shop, and we love the aprons. Perfect for standing by the bbq this summer, and saving nice clothes from stains. There’s two different design options, both colourful and joyous, like the rest of the pairs work. 

AHO Creative make beautifully detailed minimalist paper cuts for hanging. They’re cut from 300gsm archival quality watercolour paper, and can be bought with a beautiful wooden hanger. The Ihi design is an exploration of the “energy that tingles in your spine, that reverberates, rhythms and ripples through our being.”

I think everyone in the world wishes they had a Noa blanket. The wool comes from sheep all over the motu, is sorted, dyed, blended, pressed, conditioned, mixed, teased and spun into yarn in Te Whanganui a Tara, then weaved into custom designs in Tāmaki Makaurau. At the moment there are three designs on their online shop.

Tivaevae Collectables make bedding with Cook Island tivaevae (traditional quilting). The result is beautiful duvet covers, cushions and pillow slips, with hibiscus flower patterns. Honestly, forget Bed Threads, get these.

Kaputī Studio, known for their delish teas, also have beautiful hand-carved Kauri Wooden Tea Scoops which I would like to use to scoop just about anything. 

If you know someone who loves flowers, perhaps they would love to put them in a potted vase in a mid-century style shape. Thea Ceramics Tumu Vase comes in a happy māwhero glaze or pōuriuri, if you prefer something darker and more mysterious. Buy them online or check the stockists.

Puhoro serving platters are made from recycled rimu and laser etched with a split koru design which represents strength, courage, and power or speed and agility. They come in two sizes, with the small size being perfect for crackers and cheese and only $55.

If you’re giving to someone who has made “getting into tableware” a cornerstone of their personality recently or who simply loves to host dinner parties, then consider giving them the gift of having a really great bowl to receive compliments about at their next party. Artist Monty Kirkwood (Ngapuhi) fuses glass at high temperatures to create unique designs that are a little bit kitsch in a good way. A more affordable option is a coaster set. 

Parāoa parai (fry bread) recipe tea towel – it’s all in the name. They claim it’s a “no-fail” with “perfect results every time” so you don’t even have to give it to someone good at cooking – just someone who likes to eat (anyone?).

Kākahu and accessories

If you’ve been influenced by the TikTok “scarf top” trend, or know someone who has, then this MATA scarf would be an excellent gift, in a luxurious silk/cotton blend. It would also be an excellent beach wrap for your favourite swimmer.

Papa clothing is always a favourite, and recently they have released the Taro tee, with a delicate screen printed illustration on the back. Also on our wishlist is the Bubble hoodie, which has a juicy, fluoro hibiscus on the back.

Weaver Hazel Grace’s Harakeke Pōta come either with a short or long brim, and in three different sizes, to suit small and big noggins.

Nōku’s unisex corduroy shirt can be thrown over anything for a layer of warmth. On the back it’s got a panel that’s embroidered with their Matariki tohu.

Maybe your Secret Santa is the kind of person who is always lugging around heaps of stuff. In that case a Whai tote bag from Miss Maia will always be useful and not confused with the millions of other black bags around with its bright print, inspired by the undulating movement of whai (stingray).

We all have to drag things home from the supermarket regularly. This large kete from Iti can at least make the cost of living crisis a little more chic – and it would be great to sling around your shoulders for a beach day. 

Taonga and jewellery

Artist Cora-Allan Wickliffe has been beading Kupenga earrings, so you can finally wear her art.

The silver mirror Whetu earrings by Mako Design are, well, shiny and pretty. The design is inspired by the Matariki whetu and represents wahine toa. If you’re looking for something smaller, you can’t go past the pink Manawa Studs. They look like candy. 

If your loved one prefers necklaces, the Hononga necklace is bold and bright on one side, and neutral on the other (everyone loves versatility). I’m a particular fan of the kingfisher blue and black colourway.

Who knew a tiny butt-plug could look so cute? This charming charm is a gift to the world from turumeke harrington, a Ngāi Tahu artist based in Pōneke. Perhaps a safer gift could be her enamel Tussock pin (or is it a crown?). 

There are heaps of small and shiny objects on the website for Whangārei store Hine Raumati, which highlights local creators. We particularly like this ‘e hoa’ necklace for a cherished friend, or this enamel guided by my tūpuna pin. 

Takutai Studio sells the stunning creations of Tia Kirk. Takutai pieces are affordable but may be cutting it close on delivery as Kirk is now based on the Gold Coast.


WhānauKai Cookbook is perfect for those sweet toothed members of the whānau. It’s filled with recipes for cakes, slices and other treats in te reo Māori and English. 

Tusiata Avia’s latest poetry book, Big Fat Brown Bitch, is one of our picks of the year, described as “furious, funny, urgent and beautiful” by books editor Claire Mabey. Another poetry pick of the year is Talia by Isla Huia.

Rewi: Āta Haere, kia tere, by Jade Kake & Jeremy Hansen is a beautiful tome of a book. It’s about the visionary architect Rewi Thompson (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa) and his legacy. Many of us have walked along his City to Sea bridge in Wellington, which is currently under threat due to repair costs, but many of his unrealised designs are also documented here.

Hiwa is a collection of contemporary short stories in te reo Māori and english. It’s wide-ranging in subject, style and genre and perfect for keeping on the shelf to dip in and out of. Should be at your local bookshop!

Whakawhetai: Gratitude by Hira Nathan is a lush object perfect for the stationery lover or the coveter of all things notebooks, journals, and diaries. It’s the perfect, positive present that takes in the four aspects of hauora: taha tinana (physical), taha hinengaro (mental), taha wairua (spiritual) and taha whānau (family). 

Wawata: Moon Dreaming, and Aroha: Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet, both by Dr Hinemoa Elder are two, beautifully produced, books that share indigenous knowledge for a life more in tune with ourselves, and our planet.

The arty farty section

Pōtiki poi make a range of poi with plastic and fabric heads. The fabric is upcycled, found in  op-Shops around Ōtepoti. They also make mini poi earrings which are eye-wateringly cute.

If swinging poi catch your eye, then check out Poi Yeah, who have incredibly cool poi made from a range of textures and materials. Iridescent rainbow poi? Pink poi with white tassels? All are stunning. The team behind Poi Yeah helped host the FIFA World Cup fan zone with their amazing skills, and they’re collaborating on a pop up in the Auckland CBD until December 22nd. 

If you know someone who loves colourful and intricate patterns, then these gorgeous A3 prints of works by Karere Brown, a Māori artist of Ngāti Porou and Rongowhakaata descent might be a perfect gift. You can buy them with or without a frame. 

Māori Mermaid sells A3 and A2 prints. Some of our favourites are Kawakawa Kare 2, Pastel paradise and Marama.  

If one of your loved ones wants to be more in touch with the whenua in 2024, why not start in the garden? Hue (gourd) seeds come in a pack with instructions for growing according to the maramataka, which is great for beginner gardeners. You also get heaps of artistic credit for this one – the seeds are a tie-in with the Āniwaniwa exhibition by artists Zena Elliot and Tina Tangiweto. 

We all know people who are prone to getting tangled in things and some of them are knitters. Renee Paku describes her work as “big kaupapa, tiny stitches” and sells absolutely beautiful hand dyed yarn on her Instagram – we’ve also spotted some on the Knit Nook website. It would pair well with one of her knitting patterns, which is also a not-so-subtle way to hint to your giftee that you might appreciate a knitted object in return some day. 

Tamariki, games and toys

Hawaiki Pēpi make Māori designed stuff for the smallest and arguably cutest of our family members – the playmats look especially comfy for play and beautiful for the home. If there’s a pēpi on the way, or one that’s just arrived there are also muslin wraps, printed with designs by artist Karere Brown.   

Paku, a design studio started by Dr Johnson Witehira (Ngāti Hinekura, Ngāi-tū-te-auru) and James Prier (Ngāti Pākehā) reimagine Māori agricultural tools for tamariki. The result is brightly coloured Toki and Timo made from recycled nylon – I personally can’t see why these wouldn’t be useful for gardeners of all ages.

If you’ve got a little artist to buy for, Māori Mermaid has colouring in bundle, with 14 A4 illustrations. Endless fun.

Or if bugs are the hot thing of the moment, you could brighten a child’s room with AHO Creative‘s native butterfly and moth decals. The set comes with three Kahukura, two Pepe Tuna and two Lichen moths. It’s promised that they’re reusable and movable, simply by peeling them on and off, so no need to worry about regretting where they’ve been put or chipping any paint.

The just launched Z the Great is a Māori owned clothing business for tamariki up to 6 years old. They make the cutest little sets in comfy fabrics. If you prefer more colour, artist Numa Mackenzie has been woodblock printing onesies with layers of Pacific patterns and motifs.

Kura Rēhia‘s Phases of the moon memory card game is gorgeously illustrated and will help little ones start to get a grasp of the Maramataka.

Kai and inu

Tawhiti wines make a very bubbly and light pet nat, but it may be hard to get your hands on any. Huntress wines are easier to find, and made with an intention to connect place and palette. They’re available at Moore Wilsons and Everyday Wine.

Ao Cacao make artisanal chocolate, one which is described as “Northland in a bar”. Northland is apparently 65% dark chocolate with a splash of Tai Tokerau olive oil adding fragrance and silkiness. Sounds yum.

If there’s one vice that is socially acceptable to support, it’s caffeine. Get the often sleepy, sometimes buzzing person in your life a bag of Premium Samāori Blend beans. While you’re there, you may as well also get some of the Cacao Nibs, which are like chocolate but healthy.

Waikirikau is a small, whānau owned business. Each bottle of the fermented Tī contains nothing but healing plants, herbs, native leaves, fresh fruits and spices. There’s mixed flavour packs, or singles available. 

Our food editor Charlotte Muru-Lanning highly rates KAI – Food stories and recipes from my family table by Christall Lowe, which won an award at the Okhams (for being beautiful). Inside, yummy flavours weave together warm family memories. It’s nostalgic and has 100 recipes, some suitable for everyday and others for special occasions. There is mānuka honey muttonbird and pūhā, rēwena bread, oven-cooked hāngī, and Nana’s famous burnt sugar-steamed pudding.

Health and beauty

If you need a present for a gym bunny, why not get them this Earthsent Tūpākihi Healing Cream to rub on their sore muscles after leg day or arm day and whatever the other days are.

The Brown Pride gym in South Auckland describes its origin story as “a group of ordinary Samoan dudes from South Auckland on a mission to better our people”. If you’re giving to someone local who you would love to have a conversation about lifting with when you see them next Christmas, a gym membership could be a wonderful gift. They also have some awesome hoodies, or if motivational music is a barrier to exercising, they release music on their in-house record label.

Hydration is the name of the game over summer (and always actually). The Mamaku Advanced HydraGel uses Mamaku (black tree fern) as its key ingredient, which has been an important part of rongoā for generations. Also – great packaging.

If you’re cashed up and invisible things are important to your loved one, OF BODY is making some very cooooollll “fumes”. They call themselves “a Māori run, aromatic future-fume lab”. The resulting “scentscapes” come in almost brutalist packaging, mostly adorned by barcodes. A still luxurious but more affordable option for nose pleasures would be a Curio Noir pocket parfum. They’ve recently released Moon Moss, a scent with notes of hyacinth, white lily, algae, pack moss and more.

Kawakawa is an ingredient with amazing healing properties. Creator Georgina (Ngāti Porou) of Frankie Apothecary makes kawakawa balm that soothes eczema and is also great for babies – it’s a great gift for your colleague who brings hand cream to work, keeps it in their backpack, and has at least four open moisturiser bottles in their home. They also have shampoo and conditioner bars, for the person in your life who hates unnecessary plastic packaging, or likes to have an aesthetic shower-shelf.

Keep going!