Meet the Maker: Hunter Soy Candles & Making a Difference
HUNTER SOY CANDLES: A PROFILE
While skimming through Instagram last year we came across a feed that stops you. You have to go through ALL their pictures and then you see and feel their message. Ah, it resonates. A beautiful product from a beautiful person and here for the greater good. We had to have (and share! we want to get her message out too...). Let us tell you it's not the easiest to get a hold of but we think that makes it that much sweeter. The owner of Hunter Soy Candles is Hunter. Her inspiration we are so lucky to have had her share with us so read on. We are pretty sure her Maori knowledge will enlighten you too.
-What is your definition of faith?
Faith to me, is something that you honestly believe in whether it be a religious value or a personal value. Something that doesn’t define you but keeps you grounded.
-How would you define spirituality?
Something that touches us all but only some willing enough to open themselves to having a sense of connection to that something that is far bigger than ourselves.
-Would you consider yourself spiritual or faithful? Or is there a difference?
I have always had faith, as in having faith within myself first, I feel for this day and age it is important to keep your soul alive by having faith in yourself and to believe that you can strive for any goal that you set for yourself and any challenge that life itself may present can be conquered, it just depends on withier or not you believe in yourself enough to achieve it. Once I grasped onto faith within myself, my heart opened to believe in others including god.
I come from a strong cultural background and because of our heritage, traditions and beliefs the spiritual concept has always been present and is embraced with a lot of things that we do on an everyday basis. However, I personally have not been spiritually connected other than having the respect & gratitude for our cultural gods; Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) Ranginui (Sky Father) & Tangaroa (God of the Sea). In saying this, I do personally believe there is a spiritual side to every human, we live in an extremely powerful universe and I find it hard to believe that we are only what we see. Birds were given wings to fly, animals have senses far stronger than a human, nature has a ray of emotions that can either destroy us or nurture us. God’s intentions of placing humans on earth was for a reason other than what we know and live for today. All Gods creations like nature and wildlife all have a purpose in life and they know it as they live through each day, they both can live in their own birth form and adapt to their natural habitat, they work with each other and their purpose has never ceased but I feel for many of us humans, we have never found the purpose God intended for us and in most cases, many of us wont.
-Do you have specific rituals that you do in relation to your faith (meditation, prayer, celebrations, etc)?
I sage my own home at least once a week, if I feel my surroundings has a bit of negative or a heavy energy I have a New Zealand Maori woman that comes to my home and conducts a traditional ‘sage’. I visit temples often to either just relax or join the Buddhist mediation sessions, a part of me enjoys it because it helps clear my mind and another part of me enjoys it because I do like to respectively embrace other cultures and educate myself so I have a better understanding and appreciation for who they are and the difference they bring to this world.
In New Zealand, Maori people have a lot of spiritual rituals that are done often, for example; in respect to Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) a karakia (Prayer) is said before entering a forest and taking certain plants from her (most of these plants are used for healing remedies). When it comes to Tangaroa (God of the sea) Maori people never eat fresh seafood while out at sea or on the beach for that matter, it is a respect and gratitude towards Tangaroa for his giving’s as well as preventing the matter of overtaking. Maori people believe if you eat seafood while out at sea, you are then tapu (disregarding a sacred element, something bad can happen to you)
-Do you think it’s important for youth to have faith? Why?
I think it’s important for everyone to have some sort of faith, as long as it is a faith that does not place harm on oneself or others. While the world is evolving, some of our actions continue to replicate our history and I feel, in order for our future and its generations to live in humanity, we need to have faith and transition those beliefs into actions to then become positive influences for positive change for our younger generations.
-Do you share your faith with others or keep it private?
Majority of my faith is kept private, I come from a Catholic & Christian family but I have my own version of faith and god. Some people may disagree but as far as I see it, as long as one holds a positive faith in god then that’s all that matters. When it comes to my faith in humanity, mother earth and peace I often utilize my social platforms and voice to raise awareness. (WE THANK YOU!!)
-What’s your favorite thing about faith?
Probably the fact that it has helped keep me grounded, it’s helped me to remain my true self and because my faith relates to my culture it is the reason why I embrace where I come from and who I am, especially for the fact that I live in another country where culture isn’t embraced or acknowledged as much.
-Do you buy gifts, items for your house or items that you wear that are related to faith or spirituality?
No, I only have pieces that have been handed down to me. In our culture, many Maori people will be found wearing a Pounamu or Taonga neck piece. A pounamu is carved from green stone (jade) found in rivers and a taonga is carved from wood or bone and at times may even include pieces of Paua shell (abalone shell). Some carvings can represent a story of an individual, the sea, the earth or their tribal surroundings.
TIKI POUNAMU WITH PAUA SHELL FOR EYES
TAONGA CARVING MADE FROM BONE
TAONGA CARVING OF A WHALE
We have carvings based on Maori designs that have a particular special significance. Our ancestors had no written language so their tribal history and stories were kept using forms of fine arts and crafts. These pieces are then handed down through generations from tribal elders which has made them to become sacred objects. Our carvings that are worn, are worn with respect and is given to a loved one blessed. Each carving tells the history of their tribe and takes on the spirits of past great leaders and warriors who once worn then – it is believed a carving that has been worn by ancestors and many generations contains the spirit of all those people and becomes a powerful treasure.
We also hold many other items that are passed down, such as a Patu which is either made out of wood or green stone (jade), a Tiaha (spear) both items our ancestors used either in war or for hunting.
PATU MADE FROM GREEN STONE
PATU CARVED FROM WOOD
A lot of maori homes you will find a korowai which is a cloak made from features and weaved. Our ancestors used these cloaks to keep warm, to cover their passed ones before burial (which we still do today) but in modern times, a korowai is usually worn on special occasions or significant days i.e graduation. Our traditional pieces and garments are still being handmade today for cultural purposes but unlike our ancestors, in todays modern world we are able to make these all from recycled materials including the feathers for the Korowai cloak.
Most Maori people will have at least one of these, if not all. One our common cultural givings that most Maori people wear is a Ta Moko which is a tattoo of our Whakapapa (family history) Some people will have their Ta Moko traditionally done with a chisel and some prefer the modern tattooing process, but either way the meaning and story that their Ta Moko tells or represents will remain the same.
-Do you have any places that remind you of your faith or feel spiritual to you?
My country New Zealand but of all my home town Waimarama Beach.
MOTU O KURA (BARE ISLAND)
WAIMARAMA, HAWKE'S BAY, NEW ZEALAND
Shameless fact we know- oldest & second largest wine region in New Zealand is Hawke's Bay and they produce delicious wine. We believe wine is spritual :)
-Did your faith influence you in business and/or what you are creating?
It definitely did. My faith in Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) is what lead me to find a way to help contribute to the well-being of our environment and same goes for Tangaroa (God of the Sea) I have always known I was going to become a business woman but I never really knew exactly what, I ventured down a lot of avenues but there was always something missing, I had the passion, the motivation but the element of belief and purpose was never there.
I eventually began with Hunter Co which is the umbrella for Hunter Soy Candles, Hunt for Ethics and Hunt For Humanity.
I started making sustainable candles as a metaphor for a light of hope. To use the platform of my website and products to share my culture with others and to utilize the proceeds in helping people in need and being able to provide direct resources for our environment and wildlife.
Hunt For Ethics is based on showcasing ethical and sustainable products especially for businesses who are also contributing or raising awareness on subject matters that really need society’s attention. It’s a new division with the concept of positive change but my direction is to really reach out to other indigenous or cultural individuals who are small business owners also. There are so many talented people out there but some who I have personally met have either little confidence in themselves or feel intimidated due to racial issues or the vast growing competitors especially on social media like Instagram. So, I feel it’s important for me to help others be noticed and embrace their culture through their business and at the same time, raise awareness and lift the voices of concern including mine when it comes to businesses who use culture un-authentically for a product of trend.
While we are sponsors for Save The Children Australia, Hunt For Humanity is our business platform where a portion of our proceeds go to in order for us to directly help where needed.
Beautifully laid out for us. This just makes FAITHHAUS want to sell more Hunter Co and promote the cause. It also make us want to give a shout out to The Biebs as we know he is supposedly the Ultimate Forest Bather. He should burn some Hunter Soy Candles and say a karakia before he enters the forest, and thank Hunter for the tip.