Tiaki which loosely translates ‘to take care of’ in te reo Māori underpins our collection’s intention.
Kekoa is passionate about the land, the sea, our Papatūānuku (mother earth). Our new collection not only physically helps to reduce our footprint by featuring 100% post-consumer recycled plastic fabric which is Oeko-Tex ® Standard-100 certified, but also artistically showcases some of New Zealand’s finest assets which are in critical danger of becoming extinct.
We sought guidance from Māori government agencies, a specialist in Māori Visual Arts, and received a kaumātua blessing prior to setting off on this journey. It was of the upmost importance that culture and language were appropriately represented in our project.
Our locally curated prints feature some of New Zealand’s most endangered birds’ egg shells, in tones of sweet caramel, clay, smoke, and stone. They also include some of our most endangered plants, showcased in rich mulberry, ocean, tobacco, and cinnamon. Tying the collection together are two locally designed prints aptly named Tiaki, in sand and sea, symbolising where ocean meets land and how conservation goes well beyond what we can see.
”Toitū te marae o Tāne-mahuta, Toitū te marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te tangata” – if the land is well, and the sea is well, the people will thrive.
We acknowledge the conservation of culture and language is equally as important as our physical world - Papatūānuku.
TIAKI SAND | TIAKI SEA
The koru pattern is based on the appearance of an unfurling silver fern frond. In te reo Māori it symbolises new life and growth. In this instance we used it to represent tangata whenua (people of the land), whakapapa (heritage) and the cyclical nature of life.
The puhoro is a Māori design used in a kowhaiwhai pattern. It represents speed, swiftness and agility. This is used here to show the speed at which the natural environment and those that inhibit it can become endangered if it is not looked after. This danger can come from human intervention, an idea that is visualised by the puhoro and koru interacting with one another in the design.
At the centre of the design we have used the mangōpare design which is a depiction of the hammerhead shark. The design element represents leadership, tenacity, unrelenting determination, and courage. We incorporated this to show that with leadership (rangatiratanga), courage and determination we are able to sustain the natural environment and its inhabitants.
Toitū te marae o Tāne-mahuta, Toutū te marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te tangata.
If the land is well, and the sea is well, the people will thrive
Designed by Paikea Graphic Design, a local Māori owned graphic design business in Queenstown, New Zealand.
KAKABEAK | NGUTUKĀKĀ
Rich browns, teal and mustard highlight the long, distinctive flowers of the Kakabeak in this print. These plants are critically endangered (conservation status) with only 150 plants in the wild. You’ll find them on Moturemu Island in the Kaipara harbour, several locations near Ruatoria on the East Cape, Lake Waikaremoana, Ruakituri near Wairoa, and in Hawke’s Bay around Boundary Stream Mainland Island (source DOC/Te Papa Atawhai). They bloom around September and October so keep your eyes out for their distinctive red flowers.
Warm mustard, nude and merlot colour the two versions of our native hibiscus. This print features a blend of both varieties but they are distinctive in the wild with one version featuring a deep purple centre and the other yellow (with star shaped pods before flowering). These plants are nationally critical (conservation status) with one variety found in the extremes of the North Island (Reef Point and Doubtless Bay North), and the other also in the north island from Te Paki eastward to Hicks Bay, including Great Barrier and Mayor (Tuhua) (source NZPCN)
Teal, copper and taupe showcase these beautiful plants. They feature rusty spotted leaves and when flowering have long white delicate filaments. These plants are nationally critical (conservation status) on the endangered list and can be found in the north and south islands (scarce in the south) often hidden in bush or river side (source NZPCN).
Deep rich purple, white and tan highlight these rare (nationally endangered - conservation status) plants and their distinctive clusters of white and purple flowers. Whilst the plant itself isn’t particularly eye catching, the flowers in December/January are beautiful. But they’re only found in South Marlborough so plan a trip (source NZPCN)
KAKI | BLACK STILT
The eggs of these nationally critical birds (conservation status) are distinctive and busy in appearance. They feature a deep tan base with chocolate, petrol blue and copper splodges dotting the surface. There are approximately 100 birds remaining (including captive), and they are found along the edges of braided rivers and wetlands in the Mackenzie Basin, noticeable by their black bodies, long thin beak and lean red legs. Birds are known to breed for life and unlike other riverbed birds, these remain in the Mackenzie Basin over winter despite their habitat freezing (source DOC/Te Papa Atawhai).
SOUTH ISLAND TAKAHĒ
The eggs of these nationally vulnerable birds (conservation status) are cream/tan in appearance with splodges of mustard, cocoa and grey blue. There are approximately 445 birds in New Zealand (some wild, some captive) and they are found in the native grasslands of Murchison Mountains, Fiordland and Gouland Downs (Kahurangi National Park). Whilst similar looking to the more common pūkeko, Takahē birds are much larger with stout legs and more colouring. They breed once a year producing only 1-2 chicks which makes increasing the population longer (source NZBO).
TARA ITI | FAIRY TERN
The eggs of these nationally critical birds (conservation status) are delicate in appearance featuring a soft white/cream base with pastel blues, greens and cocoa spots. There are only 40 remaining fairy tern birds with fewer than 12 breeding pairs left in New Zealand. There are only four sites you can find these small white birds with a distinctive black cap: Waipu sandspit, Mangawhai sandspit, Pakiri River mouth, and Papakanui sandspit on the southern headland of the Kaipara Harbour. Be mindful of restricted areas and nests in the sand (not easily spotted eggs are 1cm long) if visiting these places, they are helping to protect the last remaining few. (Source NZBO)
BLACK-BILLED GULL | TARĀPUKA
The eggs of these nationally critical birds (conservation status) are cream-brown in appearance and feature bold chocolate, grey/blue and golden splodges. These are the most threatened gull species in the world and whilst they still have relatively good numbers in the South Island, the population has rapidly declined. The majority can be found on inland riverbeds in Southland with only 5% in the North Island (Sulphur Bay, Rotorua). Whilst similar in size and shape to your regular red billed gull, these have a distinctive black beak and red circle around the eye. (Source NZBO)
My name is Kaille Harris and I am a working from home, mum of two. To set the scene, it was 2020 and I was on maternity leave from my “real” job where I was the HoD of an Art Department at a local Secondary School. I had been a teacher for 10 years. I grew up wanting to be a teacher and I have loved every second of it. I went on Maternity leave at the end of 2019 to have my son, he was born right before our first big lockdown here in New Zealand and soon I found myself getting quite bored with all the play groups and meet up spots closed. So I took to instagram for some inspiration. A local Reusable Nappy company was running a “design your own print” competition, which really sparked the fire in me. I began painting and had soon completed my first design. I didn’t win the competition but it got the ball rolling with other companies sliding into my DMs asking if I could design for them too. This gave me the confidence I needed to make this a real venture! Under The Moon was born in August of 2020 operating solely through Instagram and is now a thriving wee business that I am so proud to call my own! In the middle of 2021 I made the call to resign from my HoD job and go FULL TIME with Under The Moon! It continues to be the best decision I ever made!