Regional | Northland

Off-the-grid hair salon provides Northlanders with affordable service

Mara Pickery of Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi is a Northland-based hairdresser who runs her own hair salon completely off the grid.

She relies on the sun for power, and water from the rain. She also allows her clients to take their hair home if they wish.

“Hair is tapu,” she says.

“Especially if they are having quite a big haircut, I will always offer them: ‘Do you want to take your hair home?’ The majority say no but some say yes. I just make sure I give them the option.”

The salon is called Personal Space and is located on a rural stretch of State Highway One in Ōkaihau. Pickery is able to offer affordable prices to her clients because of her off-the-grid approach to business.

“Our hair now has its own unique little garden, which only contains harakeke in it. The harakeke in that garden is used for muka, which is hair fibres as well and that creates its own fertiliser,” Pickery says.

Hoping to inspire

Although she has only recently moved to her new location from Kaikohe, Pickery is no stranger to the industry, being the daughter of a hairdresser, and attending seminars with industry icon Tabitha Coffey.

“With our new journey, we are now running a business through sustainability, hoping to inspire and guide others that not everything we do needs to be paid to the government, to learn to reconnect with our roots and how to survive the way we used to.”

The 2022 Māori Business Woman of the Year finalist and mother of three says her clients come from near and far in need of her services.

“I have clients from Moerewa, the majority from Kaikohe, Hokianga, I’ve had some come from home Mangamuka, from Tāmaki Makaurau. So I have clients coming from everywhere.”