MISS MAIA - Our story
In 2012 my partner and I left the treacherous runway of Wellington (NZ), landing in Melbourne (AU) to soak up the eclectic and multi-cultural landscape of Naarm. Before moving to Melbourne I ran a niche design & research consulting business that specialised in Māori communication design. In this business I solved a communication need to produce visual messaging that engaged thoughtfully and intrinsically with Māori audiences.
Starting over in a familiar yet different land, throw corporate lyfe and parenthood in the mix and it’s safe to say life got a bit hectic and spending time in creative practice took a back seat. My desire to bring to fruition a creative outlet which was super fun, expressive and explorative grew stronger over the years. Telling visual stories that capture the essence of my cultures, push creative boundaries and connect with others, are where I thrive. I’ve enjoyed the (re)discovery of forms old and new and working with a new medium to bring them to life in a fresh and interesting way - this is where MISS MAIA was born. I’ve always loved the uniformity and speed of vector illustration and using technology to explore, produce and scale. It's been a lot of fun while finally nurturing my desire to create and share.
MISS MAIA promises contemporary Māori jewellery, accessories and designs that are always unique, where I've owned, directed and immersed myself in the process end-to-end. I'm personally passionate about my creations - they are pieces of me. By supporting this little business you are supporting a wahine, daughter, sister, māmā, partner and Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau creative.
After eight and a half years in Melbourne, our family returned to NZ in September 2020, bringing MISS MAIA home to New Zealand where we are currently based on the beautiful whenua of Ngāti Awa in Whakatane.
Tracey also dedicates her time to her other passion, Hīwai Creative - a service-based business which she launched in 2020. Hīwai Creative specialises in branding strategy, design and marketing consulting for Māori-led initiatives/projects/business.
I now revel in not fitting neatly into a conventional career box instead filling my life with passion-driven mahi, doing life and business at my own pace and embracing my strengths to thrive as a multi-passionate entrepreneur.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, or feel like connecting.
Arohanui (much love) - Tracey Gardner
Learn more about MISS MAIA at the links below:
- The Spinoff (November 2022): Kirihimete Gift Guide 2022
- Whakatāne Beacon article (August 2022): Jewellery Business Makes Top 50 Māori Products List
- Te Hiku Media interview (February 2021): Māori Entrepreneurs Showcase at Waitangi
- La Vita Magazine (Summer 2020, pg 18-19): On Becoming the Storyteller
- The Spinoff (December 2020): Kirihimete Gift Guide 2020