We had spent almost 2 years in our Cannons Creek home. With help from our whānau we moved to the other side of Porirua. A four bedroom home with large north-facing windows that drank up the sun. I was in heaven.
Bobstay Lane remained our home for 19 years.
Wiremu finished his music studies and continued working in the covers band that was formed during that time. They would gig around Wellington and I would go along stashing my drinks in his guitar case. I made some good mates who are still some of my favourite people today.
I continued hitting the markets and festivals with our prints, learning on the job. Little things like remembering faces and conversations you’d had with people, the importance of weatherproofing your area, and being confident in your pricing cos there was always that one guy. I enjoyed being amongst it, people were really interested in our story and also the stories contained in the artwork. We made a decent amount of coin after the expenses were covered.
In 2000 Wiremu started a graphic design course in Wellington. It was 2 years of mahi condensed into a 10 month period. It was intense and tough but doing that course was one of the best decisions and totally forged our future direction. He entered that course not knowing how to turn on a mac and came out with some fresh skills and a pretty impressive portfolio.
Just as the course wrapped up, we had our first daughter, Te Kiri. She had the opposite nature to Rimu and was the apple of his eye. He was at her birth, cut her cord, and took on the protector role immediately. Te Kiri took no time in establishing who was the boss (her).
Shortly after the design course ended, we landed a contract with the Dept of Conservation. Our Papatuanuku print had been spotted by a woman who worked for DOC, on the wall of her whānau member. She got hold of us, and we teed up a hui. Our first official business meeting.
Back then DOC would hold an annual Conservation week celebration, which required a poster. The project manager of the campaign was after a Māori flavour, and asked to use our Papatuanuku image. We explained how Wiremu had just graduated from design school and would be able to do the mahi from beginning to end. It was a really brave bluff, and turned out to be an operating tool we used a bit going forward... Take the job, then work out the how. Wiremu was relentless with working things out, and would spend hours on end until the smallest of details were precise. Also, the whole ‘just graduated’ thing was a bit of an exaggeration. Although he completed the course, aced his classes and produced some beautiful mahi, he didn’t pass as he hadn't handed his portfolio in on time due to the timing of TeKiri's birth. A crazy technicality, but in my mind he’d graduated and I was sticking to my story.
We delivered the finished poster and accompanying booklet and they were stoked with the end result. How crazy to think that the pencil drawing created on our wobbly kitchen table a couple of years earlier would be the doorway to ongoing work with Govt departments. Things were looking up.
PAPATUANUKU - Conservation week poster
Rimu, Te Kiri and Dad