IA - Our Story - "Necessity is the mother of invention"

It all started with a conversation between my daughter & I.
She was 11 years old at the time, expressed uncertainty about her place on the LGBTIQ+ spectrum and how wished to connect with others like herself but didn't know how to. As her mother, I wanted to support and empower her, but I also knew the struggles she faced in finding a way to express her identity without feeling like she was drawing too much attention to herself.

In the same conversation I jokingly suggested she needed "a badge or bat signal" to hesitantly signal her identity She laughed and said she knew she could wear something rainbow, but rainbow-colored clothing just wasn't her style. That's when the idea for IA was born.

I wanted to create gender-neutral toned apparel that could serve as a subtle nod to the LGBTIQ+ community, while also being versatile and stylish. I wanted to create a brand that celebrated diversity, inclusivity, and individuality, while also offering a way for people to connect with others like themselves.

From there, IA was born. As a Maori woman, I wanted to create a brand that celebrated my heritage and represented my culture in a way that was both beautiful and meaningful. And so, IA became more than just a brand – it became a way for me to express my love for my daughter and my desire to create a more inclusive world.

Today, IA offers a range of gender-neutral toned apparel that is not only stylish but also celebrates diversity and individuality. From our classic t-shirts and hoodies to our prints, we have something for everyone who wants to express themselves without being defined by gender or societal norms.

I am proud to be the founder of IA and to be a part of a movement that celebrates inclusivity and diversity. My daughter's journey has inspired me to create a brand that not only supports her but also supports others like her. And I hope that IA can continue to make a positive impact on the world, one piece of clothing at a time.

Whanau Whakatauki - How we started making prints

Sometimes, the things we love most start out as something simple – in my case, it was a way to help my bonus (step) children and whanau.

It started with a need. As a bonus (step) mum, I would often see my bonus children return home dysregulated from their other household. While I was working with the Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour, I knew the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment. However, I struggled to find resources that were both aesthetically pleasing and meaningful for our family.

Alongside my bonus babies & their dad, we created our whanau whakatauki (family proverb) I then worked on different designs and options for us & the kids to choose. They picked theirs & we framed then hung them in their room.

The first family whakatauki set


The first whanau whakatauki

•Listening ears•
I'm about to tell you something, can you listen so I know you understand
Did you full understand what he/she/we/ I said
Can you tell me what your brother/sister/we/| just said so we know you understand

•Kind words•
Can you tell me why you're frustrated but without yelling?
Can you explain slower what your wanting from your brother/ sister/us
Can you ask nicely
Encourages praise

•Gentle body•
Calm down.
Don't stamp feet/snatch/kick/hit
And so we'll go over this with them
Did you use listening ears?
Did you use kind words?
Did you have a gentle body?

And more often then not, they realize what made them or us frustrated & the problem is resolved a lot taster & calmer.


I had posted a photo of this & why we had made them & got so much positive feedback and support. Encouraged by this took a leap of faith and turned my passion into making prints for other whanau & friends too.
They all further pushed me to establish these for everyone. So I created IA, a business that specializes in creating Māori digital prints that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. From the start, I was determined to do things my way, and IA became a one-woman show 😅

Today, IA continues to grow and evolve, with a mission to empower people to celebrate their heritage and express their individuality through unique and meaningful designs. I am proud to be a Maori business owner and to represent my culture in a way that is both beautiful and inclusive.

The journey from bonus (step) mom to indigenous business owner has not been easy, but it has been worth it. My passion and love for design, combined with the encouragement and support of my whanau, have led me to create a business that celebrates diversity in style. And I hope that my story can inspire others to follow their passions, take risks, and lean on their loved ones for support along the way.