Entertainment | Christmas

From poi to baby items, Toi Store selling Māori items for Christmas

A set of three pop-up stores have been created giving three pakihi māori the opportunity to sell their products in person, and the wāhine who run these businesses believe it is a great opportunity to give back before the festive season.

Hawaiiki Pēpi owner Joelle Holland says this year Māori items and products are a staple for Christmas,

“More taonga Māori I suppose because when I was younger we didn’t have much variety of taonga Māori at the time,” Holland says.

These stores are in Auckland City’s Waitemata waterfront district, Tōangaroa, known as the Toi Store. Hawaiiki Pēpi and Poi Yeah are two of the three stores and their owners strongly believe that their businesses can make māori proud to be themselves.

“We have a range of different products, play mats, our minky blankets, cotton blankets, and we hope to make more Māori proud to be Māori. And I think that starts firstly from when they come into Te Ao Mārama,” Holland says.

Poi Yeah owner Te Rina Gregory-Hawke also believes in the joy her poi can bring to whānau.

“Poi brings happiness to our whānau. Just seeing your tamariki, your mokopuna swinging them, it will just bring a smile to Nana’s face. It’s good for health and hauora, physical, mental, spiritual, it’s very holistic,” Gregory-Hawke says.

These businesses have seen success with Poi Yeah swinging its poi on the world stage at the Women’s Rugby World Cup last year, and Hawaiiki Pēpi earning six figures so far. But they both say that the opportunity to open physical doors to a store is a great opportunity.

“I was privileged and honoured to be able to bring Māori to the forefront of Aotearoa for an international kaupapa, and share our taonga on a global stage,” Gregory-Hawke says.

“And for Ngāti Whātua to give us the opportunity to showcase our products and have a pop-up store, before Kirihimete as well is amazing. It’s a great opportunity for us,” Holland says.

The store is open right till December 22 next week.