I was born in Nepean Hospital in Penrith to Maori parents. I lived in Australia for the first 6 years of my life then returned to New Zealand until I was 19. My parents moved to Australia in search of work and a better life. My earliest memories of my childhood was when living in Laparouse i was only a toddler. It was a summers day and hot as. My mother asked the neighbour if we could swim in their pool. Lol such a Maori thing to do.
I remember enjoying the swim but needing to go to the toilet. I think i enjoyed it so much i didnt want to get out so i took a dump in the neighbours pool. My mother raced to clean it up but it was too late. We were caught red handed in the act of scooping the poo out of the pool lol. I remember my mother being apologetic and embarrassed and that was the earliest memory i could recall. I never swam in the neighbours pool again. I wonder why! lol
Living in Laparouse, which is in south Sydney i had extended family. My uncle met an Aussie lady who later became my mothers good friend and eventually my sister was named after her. I have fond memories with her and the whanau. She had children from a previous relationship and i grew up with the kids and grandkids who were indigenous Australians.
Through the years i have created so many beautiful memories with them. So creating an indigenous pair of sunglasses was something i needed to do.In honour and respect for those memories. I asked a few people to do designs for me. My brother did designs which were amazing but being maori i wanted that authenticity from a indigenous Australian. It felt wrong, like a Spanish person wearing a moko kaue.
I asked my cousins from Lapa to design something but it was hard to see the design because of my lack of experience in indigenous art. So i messaged my good friend Paul McCann an amazing indigenous artist. I remember messaging him a few years ago but i didnt know how to execute the design. So i put it off and procrastinated.
Its taken me a few years to understand what was needed to create the indigenous sunglasses. Having Paul jump on this collaboration with me was special because i am able to fullfill this goal but also fullfill it with a really good mate. I knew Paul 15 years ago in Sydney and its been great to come together after so long and bring out these unique Indigenous sunglasses.
Paul has an amazing portfolio of amazing indigenous art and resides in Melbourne. By adding his designs to our L.Eyes frames and using sustainable material has been special. The techniques used are old techniques Maori carvers used to tell stories. They would tell stories of where they are from. Every stroke was done with a purpose. Shells were their treasures and jewellery. They were of great value especially paua (abalone) shell. Paua or abalone is a sea snail that is also a Maori delicacy. By using wood we are showing respect to Tane Mahuta who is also known as the god of the forest. By using the shell we are showing repsect for Tangaroa, The god of the Ocean. Our goal was to create sunglasses that had meaning and purpose, reduced risk to the environment, and made you feel great while protecting your eyes.
By merging our maori craftsmanship and my brother Pauls amazing designs we are creating some amazing unique indigenous sunglasses you will ever see. They have traditional techniques and represent the indigenous culture of Australia. I just want to thank Paul for allow us to do this with him and creating something special.
This journey has exceeded my expectation and i cant wait to share these designs with you all. They will be dropping early July! Keep an eye out on when we launch.