'Buy, play, experience': The Kiwi homewares brands to support in level 1

NZ homewares
Get the economy moving again with art, homewares and furniture made here in Aotearoa. Photo credit: Instagram.

No need to feel guilty about buying a few things to brighten up your home this winter - the Prime Minister has literally urged you to go shopping.

"I encourage you to buy, play and experience New Zealand-made to get our country moving again," Jacinda Ardern said earlier this month as she announced the move to alert level 1. "Consider it an extra form of support, to visit our country, buy our local products and support our local businesses."

Shop local movements, including the New Zealand Made Products Facebook page and LIVE.SHOP.LOVE.LOCAL generated much support in alert level 4, with many small businesses struggling financially over the lockdown period. 

Continue the local love in your living space with our list of New Zealand-made homeware brands and the shops which stock them.

For the walls

One of the simplest ways to refresh a room is to invest in art. Aotearoa boasts some excellent art and design stores, including Auckland shops Creative & Brave, The Poi Room and Endemic World

The Poi Room stocks New Zealand artworks, ceramics, linen and homewares, including a number of pieces by Māori creatives. Creative & Brave (formerly Texan Art Schools) has supported Kiwi designers and makers since 1991, while Endemic World has an extensive range of prints and photos by local artists. 

You can also check out art galleries and support artists directly through their own websites or social media channels.

For the laundry, kitchen and bathroom

For an instant bathroom glow up, replace the Palmolive with some luxurious NZ-made soap and cleaning products. Real World in Hawke's Bay offers hand wash, dishwashing liquid, laundry liquid and more, and has a refillery in Hastings to save on plastic waste.

Other sustainable swaps are easy to make at Auckland-based online store The Waste Free Home, which offers items such as refillable jars and reusable bags, as well as stainless steel pegs by Kiwi company Bento Ninja and soap dishes made in collaboration with Wellington ceramics brand Wundaire.

For the bedroom

There is nothing better than a cosy duvet to help winter seem a little less bearable (and yes, make it even harder to get up in the morning). Luckily Aotearoa makers have you covered. Auckland-based Penney + Bennett offers linen duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases and cushions, with many items made in New Zealand.

To fill that lovely duvet cover, grab an Eiderdown Co duvet, made in Dunedin from NZ wool. After ordering one last week, I can confirm that it is wonderful and warm, and was in place on my bed just a week after ordering it.

You can even purchase a mattress made in New Zealand - unexpectedly - along with beds, sofas, tables and more, at Kiwi Bed & Sofas based in Auckland. While you're at it, grab a throw, some towels or a laundry hamper from Mavis & Osborne, which makes products in its Nelson studio.

For the living room

If you're looking for furniture, there are countless talented craftspeople to support around the country, including Matakana's WRW&Co., Nelson's Make Furniture, Auckland's Goldsworthy Studio, Woodwrights in Motueka and Kovacs in Christchurch (which has been manufacturing since 1959).

Wellington's Stacks Furniture custom-makes couches in their Christchurch factory, while Meluka in Auckland, a line of Kiwi brand Danske Mobler, offers cute shelves, beds and tables. Auckland's Mood is another place to go for NZ-made bed frames, sideboards and more. 

For the finishing touches

Cushions, candles and ceramics are the ultimate budget- and Insta-friendly updates. Visit Crushes in Auckland for all things local and sustainable - from mugs with breasts to artworks, candles and vintage finds. You could also pick up a candle from Downlights NZ, made in Auckland by young adults with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Precinct 35 in Wellington offers Aotearoa-made blankets, ceramics, cushions and furniture, while nearby Vessel focuses on New Zealand ceramics and other objects for the home. 

Speaking of ceramics, while there are far too many excellent makers to mention, two brands worth checking out are Thea Ceramics, which makes beautiful cups and dishes on Waiheke Island, and Light and Vessel, which sells hand-crafted pottery out of its Whanganui studio.