May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Wahine Maori makes her own dreams come true

3 min read

NorthTec Diploma in Textile Fashion graduate Patricia Simeon (Ngati Hine) has realised a long-held dream of opening her own shop in her hometown of Moerewa.

After finishing her two-year diploma and leaving her 5-day a week commute from Moerewa to Whangarei to study behind her at the end of 2007, she moved to Auckland to get some industry experience thats no mean feat when youre a single mother with three young children.

She worked her way up from packing orders to working in administration at a sewing distribution company in South Auckland before being offered the opportunity to learn tailoring with an Auckland designer. She had to choose whether to take on the unpaid but potentially career-making role or to stick to her commitment to return home after two years.

In the end the decision was made for me, said Patricia. Family circumstances meant that I was brought home and I havent regretted that for a minute.
Within a couple of weeks of moving home things started moving and she was able to fulfil her desire to be her own boss with her own dedicated business premises. I had set up a workshop and created custom-made clothing for people in the garage at my rented house in Auckland, but I was fortunate enough to be able to rent a shop on the main street in Moerewa. Dad is a DIY enthusiast so he fitted it out for me and helped my sort out my space.

Since then Patricia has been making custom-made pieces and doing alterations for local clients. She hopes to set up a retail space at the front of the shop shortly and is also displaying her photography another aspect of this creative and inspired young mothers talents.

Ive had wonderful support from the local community. Everyone is really excited to have someone in the town that they can call on and its great to be able to provide a less costly alterations service to local kaumatua and kuia.

Patricia is keen to pass on what she has learnt, not only in terms of design and sewing. She is also currently putting together a proposal to teach screenprinting to Year 11 children at the Kura Kaupapa o Taumarere yet another string to her bow.

Since graduating Patricia says that shes been fortunate to have the ongoing support of her former NorthTec tutors. They are always happy to give me advice on particular techniques I might use and tips on how to access supplies at wholesale rates. Theyve also given me plenty of moral support.

One day she hopes to set up her own range under the name of Azidzign (as I design). Shes also keen to create childrenswear. Right now though Patricia is back with her whanau and living up to the motto on her business card – inspiration in action everyday. I wouldnt have achieved what I have without the support of my whanau and friends. They helped with looking after my children when I was studying and theyve been there for my every step of the way.

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