Sharing our story | A letter from our Founders

Sharing our story | A letter from our Founders

With the end of year in sight, we’re only just taking the time to reflect on the enormity of what 2023 has been for Noa. A growing team, new designs, sold out collections, multiple awards, new connections, happy customers and a lot of travel. We’re also reflecting on the challenges, reminding ourselves to stay present and acknowledge that we’re a small business with big dreams and busy lives. As a brand built on the foundations of weaving; being slow and meticulous, we’re learning how to cultivate this same approach to our business and daily lives. We wanted to share a little more of our own story and what that means for Noa.


Outside of Noa, we take up a number of roles within our community including tribal representation in various projects, historic reporting, coordinating commemorative events, delivering educational workshops for our rangatahi (youth) and tutoring Māori performing arts, to mention a few. 


Fulfilling protocols and formalities upon our local marae is a common occurrence for our family. The marae is the epicentre of the Māori community and constantly busy with events, including tangihanga (traditional funeral process), each requiring coordination and support - which makes this a full-time role at times. 


Te ao Māori or the Māori worldview for us is full-time. We live it and enjoy the relationship-based lens by which we experience life. The interconnection with the people and environment around us, informs mātauranga Māori; the continuation of our knowledge base, systems and networks. This requires the succession of knowledge holders, language acquisition, an embodiment of values and teachings that empower us to continue the intergenerational transmission. This responsibility to succession is where we give the majority of our time and energy and why we fulfil many roles in our local community. To cultivate this knowledge and understanding within our next generations. 

We also run a consultancy company with a focus on communication and community engagement where we facilitate a number of work streams including language development initiatives, local government strategy development and spatial planning, tribal communications and media co-ordination, cultural educational resource development, and relationship engagement support with government ministries. This offering also reaches into both architectural and interior design, where we get to express the same design intention we deliver in Noa into building and decor design projects. We have a number of these large scale design projects on the go.

These roles and responsibilities are in addition to being parents to two growing boys, both fully involved in their own extra curricular activities, sports and cultural initiatives, to which we support 100%.

The reason we share this is because a typical day for us could be getting ready for school, emails over breakfast, packing orders, project meetings, facilitating cultural formalities upon the marae, design workshops, prepping dinner, evening performing arts training and homework sessions.

 

While other days it may include workshopping a design idea in the morning, then facilitating a spatial planning workshop for local government after lunch, with tribal meetings for a local educational initiative reaching into the late hours of the evening.

Each day is diverse and immersive, with the same intent; to grow our collective wellbeing. Just last month (in November) we coordinated Te Pūtake o Te Riri - a national commemoration of the NZ Land Wars event - flew to the South Island to assist with our kids kapa haka in their national competition, and released a new collection of blanket designs for Noa in the space of a week.

Our culture is our community and our community is our culture. The knowledge and understanding of this identity is invaluable to us and central to our hauora or holistic wellbeing. Inclusive of Noa, all of our time, energy and effort is invested into initiatives and actions that empower our culture and community into the future.


Building Noa is an extension of how we already live our lives. It’s not just a business. It’s not just a product. Noa Blanket Co provides an open inclusive space for us to share our cultural values, unique stories and narratives in Māori design. Woven in wool, allowing like minded people to bring these values into our homes and lives as a reminder of their immense value. In this way, Noa also plays its part in our overall effort to see our values endure. 


Our woollen blankets have reached all corners of the earth. As home decor, a woven textile, art piece, heritage items, heirloom or tāonga (treasure) imbued with Māori design, or a practical warm wrap on the couch. The blankets have broad and wide reaching applications given it is woven in world famous NZ-Wool. We’ve intentionally designed Noa as a vessel to carry our stories into diverse places to share our values with the world.

We’re big dreamers and envision and encourage growth across many facets of life. We’ve learnt (sometimes the hard way) that there are only so many hours in a day and to prioritise our health and wellbeing, and ensure optimal outcomes from our work, we again look to be strategic and purposeful in our time management. Utilising our limited time, energy and focus where and when it's most effective, to maximise each opportunity. 

In 2024 we want to continue to tell the slow-grow story of our tāonga and reflect the journey of our wool; from farm to blanket. To reveal the breadth and reach of our development process, it's people and places of origin. At the same time, we’re eager to press further into our weaving research to develop more weave qualities, colours and styles. To refine our structure and include each detail and thread in our weaving.

As we continue to expand the reach of Toi Māori in woven textile, we have been actively progressing in other design spaces, applying our design principles in architectural and interior design areas. The year ahead will see the development of some exciting projects as we aspire to influence design across other disciplines.

We also have Limited Edition collections in development, a range of blankets that pay homage to our national heroes and some amazing special edition collaborations lined up to further share our collective stories from diverse communities.

We proudly and gratefully thank you for being part of the Noa journey - a story that is continuing to grow as we do. Weaving together the rich tapestries of life - ours and that of our immediate and wider communities. We wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and invite you to join us in reflection, rest and connection. We’ll see you in 2024.

Nāku,

Noa

Threads from the loom
Sharing our story | A letter from our Founders
Manawatakiara - Behind the Weave
Tūmatakahuki - Behind the Weave