Kia ora! Ko Whitney tōku ingoa, Nō Ngati Kurī ahau
I am the chief tea maker at Kaputī Studio where I have been building a business through the story of tea and Kaputī culture in Aotearoa for 4 years now. I am also on a learning journey pursuing my passion for rongoā and Te reo Māori.
Tell us a little bit about your local creative community and why it’s important to you?
Community is everything for me. Especially as tea is so much about togetherness and connectedness with friends, whānau, nature and yourself! Our community informs and inspires everything I do and during times like these is a vital part of staying on the waka and staying committed to the kaupapa.
Who are some of your favourite local creatives or businesses who inspire you? I love seeing the support and desire for local made and made with aroha. Some of my current fave creatives/business are: @jadetownsend @layplan @aotea @dangerousgoods @nukuwomen . And Honestly Marina, Ovna Ovich really inspires me. I wanted to remind you of about 8 years ago now when our mutual friend and photographer Emma Anderson and I went camping at the Grand Canyon and she had me modelling some of your clothes in a photo shoot mid camping trip! LOL. Your business has always resonated with me and Ovna was one of the first kaupapa as fashion businesses where you weave in your own culture with strong values of ethically made, locally made, caring about papatūānuku and the impacts of your work. So YOU!
We have spent a lot of time at home over the past wee while. What at-home rituals have helped you get through?
Kaputī! Meditating and tea drinking. Taking a thermos of tea to the beach. Even just savouring my morning cup of tea before the day runs into some kind of beautiful chaos with two young boys chomping at the bit for adventure. I don’t have a lot of time to myself right now and it’s a simple and easy ritual to incorporate into my day to take care of myself.
What are you looking forward to doing when things free up again? I know it’s not popular opinion but the recluse in me has really enjoyed just being at home and keeping things quiet and simple. I haven’t missed much and I guess having young children it has been special to have this time and there has also been no time to look up and out any way. But I am missing two random things: op shops and my Chinese massage and accupuncture appointments!
Whitney Chapter 1, Grand Canyon. Photo: Emma Anderson
What are you working on at the moment? I’m really taking this time to reflect and plan for where I want my business to go and how I want to continue to develop the kaupapa. We’ve got some cool new titles coming to the website and some beautiful handmade pottery we’ve been collaborating on with @threecupsoftea in Dunedin - coming soon for Christmas time.
Anything exciting coming up in the next few months? I will be graduating with my diploma in Te Rōnakitanga ki Te reo Kairangi in December AND we are waiting for a nephew to arrive any day now. So these are the things that motivate and inspire everything I do - becoming proud and strong in who we are and our culture and seeing the next generation come up and how truly amazing they are.