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The stars align for new tenants in The Historic Village 2023

It might be an old cliché, but ‘when the stars align’ rings true right now for Tauranga Historic Village Tenants Manager, Michelle Smith, as she prepares for Matariki at the Village this month.

“I am very excited to see the whole village embrace this year’s celebrations. This is only our third year celebrating Matariki in the village, but the growth and the enthusiasm has been amazing. I am especially delighted to welcome two new village tenants who could not have timed their arrivals any better,” says Michelle.

As we prepare to celebrate Matariki, we also welcome our newest tenants to the village community, Tasmyn Roach and Kayla Holland. These two wāhine toa are shining lights in our community and their stories are both entwined and unique.

Tamsyn Roach and family
Awhi Company owner Tasmyn Roach with partner Lance and baby Kahika.

Tasmyn Roach and her partner started the Awhi Company five years ago and until now have been running the business from their whare. Now located in the Village, Awhi is not only a place to sell their beautiful baby blankets, muslin wraps and knitted blankets, it is also a place where Te Reo play groups can meet and connect.

“I came to my own culture somewhat late and at times I felt ashamed that I couldn’t kōrero in te reo when asked. So, I took it upon myself to learn my language and culture. As I discovered what a difference it made to my life, I believe that it is vital for us to educate our tamariki from birth. Then they get all the benefits that come from understanding their culture and identity," Tasmyn explains.

It is that belief in growing a healthy and stabilising environment for whānau, especially mum and pēpī, that inform the work ethos of the Awhi Company. They believe that all pēpī should be wrapped in Te Ao Māori from birth. Each blanket is designed with an element of Te Reo Māori or Mātauranga Māori to ensure our pēpī stand strong in their identity from the moment they enter this world.

Anyone interested in the blankets or classes can find details at www.awhicompany.co.nz.

Kayla Holland
Kayla Holland from Ataahua Kreations wearing one of her korowai.

Listening to Kayla Holland describe how she came to develop Ataahua Kreations, is to hear the story of her late mum walking beside her on a remarkable journey.

“I lost my mum in 2017. As I was suffering with grief, I needed something to help me recover. I started painting, which did help. As I was exploring my creative side, I looked at some study and undertook the Certificate in Arts at Toi Ohomai which boosted my creativity and offered real joy. I then started the degree course where I was conflicted as to which field would be my focus. We had a sewing/clothes design component in the course. One night I had a dream where mum and I were standing together with sewing machines!!!” says Kayla.

And that is how the journey started. Kayla gained her degree, majoring in fashion. She worked in the industry but wanted to be able to really use her unique skills, so she started making clothes, which people saw and then asked to buy. Their orders came in via word of mouth, and the seeds of Ataahua Kreations were sown.

Ataahua Kreations opens in the Tauranga Historic Village this week at the start of Matariki, and the shop will display the very popular contemporary korowai, as well as bandana jackets and wool blanket jackets. Kayla’s painting’s will also be on display.

“While I have been building this business, I feel my mum with me every day and I think she is proud of me. I can feel her presence and guidance,” says Kayla.

As we celebrate the Māori new year, we can see two stars in our midst. Wāhine toa shining a light of themselves and their whānau. Ka hikoi a tatou wāhine toa I runga I te aroha me te arahi I a tatou ki āpōpō.

Posted: Jun 16, 2023,
Categories: General,

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