It is with much aroha that I’m posting this week’s Local Love. The Native Agent shop in Ponsonby’s Brown Street is the brand new home for design work ‘made with hands and made with love’ by Rona Ngahuia Osborne and friends. Rona is also a friend of mine; her Kingsland shop closed a year or so ago, so I’m really pleased to see Rona her back on Auckland’s retail scene.
In the shop this month you’ll find home furnishings, blankets and other bedding, artwork, pounamu and other jewellery, and coffee. Good coffee! That’s not to say you’ll find all the same things next month: Rona tells me that this space is going to be changed up regularly, with plenty of opportunity for new exhibitions and openings. More reasons to visit!
What’s going to be constant is the homeware and other designs that feature Rona’s own work. Her sewing and needlepoint helped set the tone for New Zealand’s ‘new craft’ scene this century. Rona may not have been the first to collect and embroider with woolen blankets, but I would argue that she has been one of New Zealand’s most influential artists in using of those materials.
Rona’s bird embroidery and iconic representations of New Zealand have been much imitated and prompted many sewalikes that you’ll see in craft markets around Aoteroa today. But Rona’s perspective is both unique and genuine – it’s a conversation about our colonial past, representing images of our country’s Maori and Pakeha cultural background, as well as our natural heritage.
Rona uses images that we can connect to as New Zealanders. In Aotearoa, a tui or musket are more relevant than a fox or teepee. A local maunga (mountain) has more meaning than a New York skyline. Surely these are the things that belong in our homes.
Local Love celebrates the independent establishments that make a good town great. If you want to share the love for one of your local businesses, post a link in the comments.