Cameo: Maka + Aorere

Welcome to 'Cameos' a series featuring a lovely cast of characters from around the globe and across creative disciplines. We’ll try to keep it curious, with questions that range from cheeky to inspiring. ⁠

Since it's a Cameo, we’ll always ask our subjects to share something that is precious to them. As a jewelry designer, I think of all things as vessels for meaning. But true to life, precious does not always mean fancy. It's all in the energy and the story.

Meet Maka + Aorere!
Love stories are like soul food for me, and theirs is one of an even more vivid, soulful array of color. Meet my sweet sister Maka and the wonderful Ao– who’s togetherness, you can see from their Cameo image, was written in the stars. Both are creators with deep ancestral roots in storytelling and art. I first learned of them via their jewelry brand @Moon.ture, a practice drawing from their respective indigenous cultures, and steeped in intention and energy. It is my absolute pleasure to share a glimpse of these truly incredible humans and to learn from them as I have done (and continue to!) with so many blessings.

WHAT’S A SPECIAL IDEA OF ETERNITY?

We suppose once we’ve passed through this world together, we would hope to become atoms of lights. If lights become photons or particles? We would hope to travel the cosmos with and continue life as different beings, tethered together in different ways.

WHAT’S YOUR CURRENT USE OF COLOR?

Papatūānuku / our mother earth figure who gives birth to all things will always be our muse. Ao often finds himself in the colors of the Earth in Greens and tree bark. Maka is often in colors of the Rainforest – in Emerald greens and dark red berries.

TELL US A FAVE THING ABOUT THE ANIMAL(S) IN YOUR LIFE?

Our cats bring a balance of chaos and peace. They can zoomies around the house one minute, and be on your lap purring the next. They’re the perfect example of balance of energy.

WHAT’S YOUR VICE OF CHOICE THIS WINTER?

Everything we’re thinking of is a way we cope with the Winter up here!

ANYTHING IN YOUR CLOSET YOU STILL HAVE IN ROTATION FROM THE 90S?

We are stoked that overalls and jumpsuit/fly suits have come back.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE POEM OR QUOTE THAT STEERS YOU IN GENERAL OR IN TIMES LIKE THIS?

– “Look out for number one.” ~ Wooshjix̱oo Éesh ~ George Ramos (Maka’s grandpa)

– “He toka tū Moana / A rock that stands firmly in the ocean.” This is a Maori proverb that reminds us to be steadfast and strong in our beliefs, and defy all opposition.

– “Persistence without insight will lead to the same outcome.” ~ The Armorer, The Book of Boba Fett, Star Wars.

A WORD OR HEIRLOOM YOU WOULD TIME CAPSULE AS A FUTURE ANCESTOR?

Maka: I would capsule my late grandfather’s drum. My people say your mother’s heartbeat is the first sound you hear in the womb. Our drums represent that.

Ao: That’s a tough one. My brain is wanting to capsule philosophies of the Maori worldview. I think I would capsule my Toki necklace – with the Toki comes its philosophy of having the strength to wield a carving tool to carve your path.

WHAT SCENT IS TOPPING YOUR GOOD FEELS FRAGRANCE LIST?

In the winter, nothing beats a Kiwi-style self-saucing chocolate pudding.

“Can we as humans now - be considered atoms of light and electricity?”

—Maka

IS THERE A SONG OR GENRE OF MUSIC THAT’S GETTING YOU UP AND AT ‘EM OR HELPING YOU WIND DOWN?

Maka: For wind down, I’ve been digging “Didn’t I” by Darondo.

Ao: To wake up, I always gravitate back to “Clare De Lune.”

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE SONG/POEM (OR EVEN ONE LINE FROM A POEM/SONG) TO GO INTO A BOTTLE AND BE FOUND IN THE FUTURE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Maka: “​​Your face is like a superpower.” from First time – Teeks

Ao: “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!” The Lion King opening theme song. (hehe)

IF YOUR HOUSE PLANTS COULD TALK, WHAT WOULD THEY HAVE SAID TO YOU TODAY?

To Maka: “ Remember to drink more water, take a moment of presence, and meditate!”

To Ao: “Feed me!”

WILL YOU TELL US YOUR NO. 1 KARAOKE SONG?

We’re too shy of singers to have a go-to song. The only time we’ve done karaoke together, Maka did “At last” by Etta James and Aorere did “What a wonderful world” (the Louis Armstrong version of singing).

CAN YOU SHARE A PARTICULAR EPISODE OF A PODCAST YOU LOVE THAT BLEW YOUR MIND/SHOOK YOUR ROOTS OR INSPIRES YOU TO SHARE AND REVISIT?

We recently were listening to a Jay Shetty podcast where the guest spoke about how we need to be careful to not give the rest of the world all of our energy/full servings and our loved ones our “leftovers”. We are being proactive in applying that meaningfully in our lives.

IF YOU WERE A GEMSTONE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE?

Ao: Onyx. When most people see something dark, they are scared of it. I become more curious to learn what hiding behind that exterior,

Maka: I suppose I see myself as Pounamu/Jade. The Jade from Gutamela includes a beautiful blue tone that indicates Copper’s presence. I resonate with that because my clan is the People of the Copper River.

I ASK ALL MY FRIENDS TO SHARE SOMETHING THAT IS PRECIOUS TO THEM. WHAT’S THE OBJECT? HOW DID THIS COME TO BE PRECIOUS TO YOU?

Maka: “My drum communicates my relationship with my late grandfather. I inherited his drum when he passed. He taught me all of our old songs from our village, and represents the heartbeat of our people.”

Aorere: ‘My name. The reason why my name is precious to me goes back to 1992 while my mother was pregnant with me. My grandfather was fighting to reclaim the lands of Ngati Pikiao. When they finally won their case, an elder of the Hapu/tribe by the name of Hiko Hohepa requested to my grandfather and mother that I would be named after Te Rangiaorere, whom Ngati Pikiao descends from. This would be to commemorate the victory of the tribe against the Crown.

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

We leave you with beautiful words written by Maka herself:

“In the pathway we walk together, we often return to the subject of transforming atoms. As we have passed in the world together, we often have discussions on whether we have spent one of our lifetimes as atoms of light. Can we as humans now – be considered atoms of light and electricity?

When we met, there was an inexplicable understanding that we were a reincarnation of souls or energy that have collided before. We have spoken about how when our human bodies pass, and how we begin to travel through the cosmos – can we come back as a laugh or positive thought? We can be the present manifestation of the dreams of our ancestors’ past. We believe that is why our ancestors stressed that we are all connected to everything – we cannot pull or separate ourselves from the energies that bind us to the earth and cosmos.

The world can be confusing. We can look at others that cause hurt and pain in the world and can see that they are lost, confused, and scared. They are unanchored. It can be hard to fathom the dark of this world, and this is one of the reasons we founded our design work with @moon.ture – we wanted to design from the anchor and aquifer of our cultures to help others understand our cultures. We do this from the understanding that we are the continuation of ancestral creation stories. This understanding is why we resonate with Anna’s work and we are honored to have the privilege to call her our friend and mentor. Her work is intergenerational, its history, and its moving energy – everything we want to be.