We're all about the personal recommendation, whether it's a new restaurant with brilliant service or a beauty product that someone has brought, finished and will buy again. Each month we'll be sharing a few of our own random finds. Discovered something new that you want to recommend? Let us know!
If, like us, you are not a huge fan of the black, white and beige interior trend, you’ll likely love the offering of hand-painted and handmade cushions from this Waiuku-based brand. Kitschy, colourful and whimsical prints - lucky toadstools, ladybird trellis and a ‘moonlit mystery tour’ featuring snails and cats in a topiary garden - are pretty much the antithesis of minimalism, and we are here for it.
Just as puzzles are a wonderful, hands on way to unwind (and put down your phone), so too is Lego. This model building kit offers a twist on the art of bonsai, ideal for those of us who can’t keep a plant alive, ever. Spend some downtime building it, then display it; it has options for green leaves or pink cherry blossoms, depending on your mood or the season. It’s from the LEGO Botanical Collection for adults - made from plant-based plastic using sustainably sourced sugarcane.
Full disclosure: we didn’t buy this, but we will once it’s all gone (we were sent it as part of a PR send out). One of our favourite things about international trips (remember those?) was visiting local health food shops (Erewhon in LA being the gold standard), and drooling at the delicious canned drinks that are actually good for you. It’s a crime that, until now, there have been few or no local offerings. Enter, Good Sh*t.
The new drink claims to be the world’s first Pre + Probiotic soda; close examination of the ingredients by our questioning eyes showed lots of good things and no bad ones. Most importantly, it passed the approval test of a very sugar addicted 11-year-old plus it’s just a really great looking can. It comes in four flavours: cola, citrus, berry and ginger.
We were sent a bottle of this as a PR gift earlier in the year, for inclusion in an upcoming deep dive into collagen (keep your eyes out for that coming soon). Once it ran out, we hopped online and bought another. Long-term users of collagen peptides, we couldn’t go back after trying this oat-based creamer. It breezily transitions healthy morning smoothies into delicious milkshakes. Plus it’s packaged in recycled, reusable glass and looks very chic in pantry shelfies.
In Samoan culture it’s common for older women to invest in glamorous wide brim hats to wear to church on Sundays and functions - often they are made from plastic and ribbon, but this one was lovingly handmade with flax (a pretty rare find). It was from the Polyx Nightmarkets recently held at Trust Arena in Henderson; there are others planned for April 9 (Trusts) and April 23 (Mangere Art Centre). Worth a visit!
We’re fans of authentic traceability in fashion (and beauty for that matter), and the more brands and designers that offer this information, the more commonplace it will become. Three new printed, organic cotton T-shirts from some of our favourite designers and Mindful Fashion New Zealand offer a unique showcase of the many hands that make a garment in our local fashion and manufacturing industry, plus transparency of the supply chain (follow the chain here). The money raised from Mindful Fashion’s ‘Full Circle’ tees goes back to the organisation, including towards industry workshops (read more about its ethos here, in an essay from co-founder Kate Sylvester). They have also partnered with local company Little Yellow Bird to recycle the T-shirts into new fibres or textiles once they are no longer wearable or repairable.
We have to be honest, until recently, we had never heard of piquette. But a recent story by a friend, and several recommendations, convinced us that this was a tipple we needed to try. We know there’s much more to it than this but for fellow wine luddites: it’s basically a light, fizzy, low-alcohol wine, made using pomace (the grape leftovers from winemaking). We tried the Kindeli piquette in a can at Auckland restaurant Omni (an Ensemble favourite), and will be ordering it again.
Recently there have been several calls for a formal - and overdue - apology from the government for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, a shameful part of our very recent history here in Aotearoa New Zealand. It comes as various events have marked 50 years since the Polynesian Panthers were formed in pre-gentrified Ponsonby as a result of the racist targeting of our Pacific communities - including the exhibition The Dawn Raids - Educate to Liberate and an upcoming TV series The Panthers set to screen on TVNZ 1 later this year.
A mural honouring the Panthers' legacy, their connection to the Black Panther Party in the US, and other social justice issues was recently painted on Karangahape Road (it's towards the Ponsonby end; go see it!) - featuring founding Panther and wāhine toa Miriama Rauhihi Ness, who sadly passed away earlier this month.
We highly recommend watching this fantastic Sunday story featuring original panthers Tigilau Ness, Alec Toleafoa and Melani Anae - as well as picking up a copy of her book, The Platform: The Radical Legacy of the Polynesian Panthers, published by BWB Texts.
Damon Salesa’s book Island Time, published by BWB in 2017, is also an essential read; asking what it would mean for NZ to recognise its Pacific talent and finally act like a Pacific nation.