Our Story

Co-owners Adrienne Whitewood (Rongowhakaata/Nga Puhi) Creative Director and Hoete Mitai- Ngatai (Te Arawa/Mataatua) General Manager. With Adrienne as Creative director taking inspiration from Māoriart and culture, using traditional concepts and with them creating unique print on silhouettes, reflecting her love of decorative design her ethos is all about 'creating an emotional connection to indigenous design'. Sewing from the age of 8 Adrienne taught by her kuia (grandmother) pursued her studies in textiles graduating in 2009 from Auckland University of Technology with a degree in fashion. She opened her first store ahu Boutique in 2013 dedicated to growing high end contemporary Maori design in Rotorua and held her first solo show at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2017.

Adrienne says 'I love to think of print as a way to give the body movement through design I'm always fascinated when I research different Maori art practices and discover how inventive and resourceful our tupuna (ancestors) were. Designing using Māori print is a way I feel I can make that connection to my culture I'm always blown away by all the amazing customers that love our pieces and I feel a genuine need to dig deeper and create more meaningful designs that reflect this passion for indigenous Aotearoa creativity. 'Hoete with a passion for Te Reo Māori, accounting and performing arts has helped take ahu boutique's concept of 'Being the home of Māori fashion' to the next level with leading the opening of the couples second store in Wellington (Rotorua and Wellington). He also manages the operations of the couples chocolate and gift boxing business KŌKŌ. Adrienne and Hoete have two tamariki, Harete and Hikairo and reside in Rotorua, while currently working on some big projects pursuing sustainable textiles and manufacturing processes to create truly circular products for their customers. They say although working together while raising a family has its challenges, through the grace of God we show up every day, and we remain excited because we are always learning to grow and doing things we are passionate about. In their spare time, they love walking through the redwoods with their whānau, eating out at local spots and attending their local church.