Geneva Harrison (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri), Michelle Tibble (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Te Arawa) & Karen Te ō Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi-Wahiao, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pukeko)
Tuhi Stationery celebrates their 1 year anniversary in September and what a year its been!
The three wahine behind Tuhi Stationery were unsure how their bi-lingual range of stationery based on Mātauranga Māori would be received in the market. But that caution was set aside quickly. “We made our first sale within 8 minutes of launching our website, and we have not looked back ever since.”
“Being raised by nannies who loved to write, tell stories, share Mātauranga (knowledge) – we were not sure if our products would have a place in this busy modern world, especially in our urban settings. But we quickly saw how much our stationery and workshops resonated with people from all walks of life, particularly busy professionals.”
Our history as Māori is full of amazing practices and lessons we can learn from our own navigators, astronomers, scientists, planners etc. It’s all there in our own Māori history, our challenge was to draw that Mātauranga down into everyday, accessible, easy to use resources.
For example, several of our products help people to learn more about the Maramataka (turning of the moon) and ways this Mātauranga can be incorporated into their daily lives.
Maramataka was developed by tīpuna (ancestors) based on their close relationship and understanding of their environment and the interconnectedness of the land, sky and seas. By closely observing their environment, they were able to identify days each month that were better suited for activities and signs to help predict the season ahead.
Today, we can utilise that knowledge not just in the gardens, but in our homes, at work, with whānau and with each other. As matua Rereata Makiha reminds us “the Maramataka may not help you catch your train on time, but it will help you live a more balanced life in tune with the natural rhythms of our Taiao (environment).”
And at the end of the day, that’s what so many people are looking for, a way of living that is grounded in a practice centuries old. This Matariki period in particular we have had a huge uptake of our resources and workshops as this knowledge base, and traditional Maori practices become more widely known and accessible. Dr Rangi Matamua’s recent national & international tour speaking on the Matariki had packed audiences every time, showing how interested people are in learning of traditional practices that can enhance modern life.
One of the unexpected outcomes of our business has been the building of communities around this mātauranga. Like many, we are still learning, we always will be learning. It’s been exciting to hear stories from whānau across Aotearoa on how their individual whānau and hapū practice Maramataka, and to be able to provide resources and platforms where people can record and share that knowledge with each other.
While Tuhi Stationery initially started with stationery products – notebooks, journals, planners etc, we also now deliver workshops around the country and will be releasing our online training in September. There is a large demand for our workplace workshops as people acknowledge the importance of wellness in the workplace. Maramataka is fundamentally about hauora (health and wellbeing) – our own as people, and that of the environment.
“Michelle and I were raised by grandparents in small rural communities. We now live in the city and have busy urban lives as māmā and in full time mahi so we have purposely looked for ways to share information to people through online platforms, workshops and resources, for those who want to access this knowledge, but may not necessarily be able to attend wānanga.”
“We think this resonates with people, when we share kōrero, we talk of practical ways to implement the teachings of the maramataka in people’s daily lives, whether you are living in rural Aotearoa, or in the city or even overseas.”
In line with our own business values, and what we know from practicing the Maramataka – it is vital to give back to your community and environment in whichever way you can. For our small business that has meant donating over 1000 copies (to date) of our Maramataka journals to kura kaupapa and other charitable organisations both here in Aotearoa and Australia. That’s very important to us as a Māori business and we have been very fortunate in our first year of business to be able to do that.
We hope you enjoy using what we have created, as much as we have enjoyed developing them!
For further information check out our website – www.tuhi.co.nz.