Aotea Flagship

Photography by Jono Parker

Good Design (caps intended) has style, substance and sustainability. Style, because aesthetics are important, and we all deserve to have more beauty in our lives. (Plus, when something is pleasing to look at and hold, we also tend to better respect it, take care of it, and be more present for our enjoyment of it, if that makes sense). Next, substance. For something to be well-designed, it should be perfectly fit for purpose. Useful, effective. Life-enhancing in some way. The last part is sustainability. For me, in the context of design, sustainability is a product having longevity, and being made with conscious consideration for people and planet.

Welcome to my TED Talk. But all that to say, that Aotea is one of those New Zealand brands that I feel completely embody Good. Design.

Aotea is a range of therapeutic products inspired by rongoā māori (traditional māori medicine), using native New Zealand flora grown sustainably on Aotea, Great Barrier Island. Ingredients used for hundreds of years and backed today by scientific research – such kawakawa, mānuka, harakeke and kūmarahou – are the hero ingredients in Aotea’s range of small-batch skincare and health products. Their journey began in 2015 at the Parnell Farmer’s Markets with one herbal tonic drink, and Aotea now have over 250 stockists globally. Two Hundred and Fifty! They proactively work to protect Great Barrier’s ecosystem and provide job opportunities for locals, and gift scholarship grants to the island’s māori youth, so they can participate in a high level of schooling (there are no high schools on Great Barrier).

(If you’re interested in learning more about Aotea’s business model and how tikanga māori underpins all they do, or you want to know more about the efficacy and provenance of their products, I can def recommend checking out the Aotea website – it has loads of info.)

OK – so to the reason for today’s post – this beautiful moody space. Aotea recently opened the doors on a flagship retail space at Auckland’s new Commercial Bay precinct. I love how simple they’ve kept this space, and especially the choice of low light – for me this would be a verrrry welcome sensory relief from all the artificial light and noise of the typical ‘mall’ environment.

Like Aotea’s products, the ingredients in this space are simple but substantive – and storied, too. See that centre table? Aotea founder Tama Toki tells me: “The slab is from an old kauri tree that stood on North Hauturu (Little Barrier Island). About twenty years ago it came down in a storm and actually floated into our bay on Aotea called Katherine Bay. My uncle went out in his boat, towed it in and then lifted it out of the water with his tractor. I remember it being quite the scene! From there he cut the tree into slabs and gave them to whānau. This was one of the slabs, and so we decided to restore it for the store.”

You know I have a thing for sinks, and this curvy number gets 10/10 from me. The team were inspired by some of the old communal wash basins they have on their papakāinga. So they wanted to make one similar – but using corrugated iron, because there’s so much of it on the island.

Concept and design by interior architects Wonder Group.

Two hands way up for indigenous international success stories, values-based brands, and Good Design.


Visit the Aotea flagship at Commercial Bay, 7/21 Queen Street

Aotea online storeAotea Instagram


Inside Stories – Homestyle Aug/Sep

The cover home for this issue belongs to NZ artist Anna Church (who now lives in Canada with her family)
Photography by Anna Church and Rebecca Wood

Styling by Juliette Wanty; Photography Wendy Fenwick


Not sure where the last 8 weeks went, but *shrugs* at least we have a new issue of Homestyle to show for it.

The August/September edition is out on shelves and in mailboxes this week, packed to the end pages with beautiful New Zealand homes (eight of them!), modern editorial styling, and the team’s reliable curation of lovely new things that definitely deserve your attention. The cover girl this issue is the *chef kiss* Canada home of New Zealand artist Anna Church (whose new body of work you really need to check out). Put on your comfies, switch the phone to airplane mode and give yourself some self-care in the form of SSR time with the new Homestyle.




Future Heirlooms – Trio by Douglas and Bec

New from NZ design industry leaders Douglas and Bec, the Trio lighting collection. Like the Pare and Line families before it, the Trio collection takes elegant traditional silhouettes and interprets them for a modern aesthetic. There’s a floor lamp and table lamp (customisable in terms of both the metal finish and the blown-glass globe colour – white, camel, midnight, bronze green or blush) and various pendant lights. And as with everything Douglas and Bec, each piece is made right here in New Zealand, ready to make itself at home in any stylish space around the world.


Giveaway – win an Acme Flatware Set


Acme are one of those New Zealand brands that don’t make a big fanfare about themselves, they just go on with the business of creating world-class, form-and-function items centred around the art of hospitality. Behind the brand is Godfather of NZ espresso Jeff Kennedy (he founded Caffe L’Affare in 1990, pioneers of decent coffee here in New Zealand, and also owns the 180-seat Wellington eatery institution that is Prefab) and his partner Bridget Dunn.

If you’ve had a coffee in a NZ cafe, chances are you’ve drunk from an Acme cup. The Acme Demitasse is virtually an icon of New Zealand design and coffee culture, and is now used by restaurants and cafes all over the world. Actually, you can almost use the presence of Acme cups as a signpost to good coffee – see a stack of Acme cups on the espresso machine, and you know the barista takes a brew seriously. In the past year, Acme brand has begun to grow beyond cafe-supply, making a move into New Zealand homes, designing products for a restaurant-quality experience at home.

As one example, I have their Roman Cups at home – I love the contemporary-yet-classic shape, they come in 110ml, 170ml and 270ml for whatever you consider the perfect pourand the very fine, super light cup (made with magnesium porcelain) has the sensory effect of delivering a richer, more complex coffee. Big fan over here.

New fave – the Acme Bobby mug 

Acme’s packaging is made here in New Zealand, designed by Think Packaging.  It’s completely recyclable, with no plastic, and none of those twisty-tie things. Form and function, it’s the Acme M.O.

Designed by Acme’s in-house designer Paddy Kennedy


Ok, so – let’s get to the reason for today’s post – Acme have just launched their own flatware! Acme have always created for a need, and they saw a need for well-designed (and New Zealand-designed) cutlery, at an affordable price. Made from a hardened and brushed stainless steel, the new Acme cutlery is designed to last, and also to look better with age. They’re weighty and substantive in that way that lets you know you’re dining at a very. fancy. place.

If you’d like to elevate your everyday meals to a more special, restaurant-like experience, head over to The New’s Instagram and enter our draw, to win your own 24-piece Acme Flatware set!


Win a stunning 24-piece (6-person) set of Acme cutlery, valued at $245

Enter the draw here

© The New