GISBORNE HERALD  Published: September 22, 2016 

by Natasha Thompson

AFTER months of sitting in the back of The Aviary, chugging away on a retro Singer sewing machine, local designer Julie Puddick is about to present her new collection to the fashion scene.

Formerly behind local brand Rubies Design, Puddick will launch new brand, MASAMI, at the Tiki Ahua contemporary Maori culture fashion show this weekend.

It’s all very exciting,” says Puddick, who will be taking part in a fashion show for the first time.

The theme of this year’s event is ka mura (to set alight). Te Pupu and Te Hoata, the Maori goddesses of fire, are the inspiration.

“Ka describes the act of setting alight. Mura is a flame. Together they describe the fostering of life and creation, bringing something into existence,” says Puddick.  “This inspired my bespoke collection for the show, ‘Volcanic Fire’.”  With gold and silver detailing shimmering over rich, earthy layers of silk, linen, wool and draped viscose, the eight- outfit collection is set to erupt down the catwalk.  But the collection will do more than show off Puddick’s unique designs, with elements of her East Coast hometown promoted in the work.  “The fabrics embody unique aspects of New Zealand’s nature and heritage, with textures and motifs hinting at birds, lava, stone, sun, ta moko, and the bush of the Waioeka Gorge,” she says.

The local designer, who works out of The Aviary in the Poverty Bay Club building on Childers Road, sourced trims, textiles and embellishments from antique markets, family heirloom collections, and international fabric specialists.

Retro designs feature heavily in the debut MASAMI collection.

Talking about one of her creations, she describes it as a 50s-inspired vintage coat. “I found an old coat and got my pattern maker to make a template from it,” she says.  Retro techniques are also employed, with Puddick using a vintage Singer sewing machine for her work.  “Many years ago I did some work for a man and he paid me with this machine,” she says.

The MASAMI show collection will be complemented by Rotorua-based Nerida Johnstone’s Henare jewellery.

“Nerida uses these beautiful, unpolished stones from all around the world. They all have a meaning and a healing aspect,” says Puddick.

Also hailing from the East Coast, Johnstone’s collection is named after her grandfather, an East Coast native.

“He was a stoic war hero, ruggedly handsome, and a hard working man who was happiest working the land and shaping it with the fences he built all over the East Coast of New Zealand,” says Johnstone.

“I would watch him bend and shape his fencing materials with his huge hands and I often think of him when I am shaping and forming my own work”.

Puddick says a fashion show at the Dome Room following the Rotorua event is a possibility.

The full MASAMI Volcanic Fire collection will be available in store at The Aviary or online at (website launches September 23).



GISBORNE HERALD  Published: September 29, 2016 by Natasha Thompson

BLAZING: Lou Tyson models a kimono wrap dress from Gisborne designer Julie Puddick's MASAMI colection at the inaugural Tiki Ahua contemporary Maori fashion show in Rotorua last weekend. Accessories by Nerida Johnstone of Henare jewellery. Picture supplied.

Gisborne designer Julie Puddick debuted new label MASAMI to a sell-out crowd of more than 450 at Rotorua’s inaugural Tiki Ahua contemporary Maori fashion show last weekend.

The designer, who works out of the Aviary, in the Poverty Bay Club building on Childers Road, launched the collection alongside 21 designers from across New Zealand.

“The event was an amazing production that ran like clockwork,” said Puddick, whose earlier label Rubies Design was a forerunner to MASAMI.

“It was spectacular in its presentation and surroundings, a true masterpiece in fashion parades.”

While Puddick’s collection was glamorous, luxurious and bold, show collections ranged immensely, from streetwear to the avant-garde.

Traditional Maori art featured throughout, with new interpretations of pounamu, bone carvings, and ta moko tattooing.

The show, titled Ka Mura (set alight), was inspired by the Maori goddesses of fire.

Entertainment was provided by hip hop artist Che Fu and Auckland musician Seth Haapu.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick was impressed with the inaugural show. She said she believed Tiki Ahua had the potential to develop into a festival similar to the original World of Wearable Arts show in Nelson.

“It has surprised and delighted the audience, it’s a bit cheeky and very slick and I don’t think it was what anyone was expecting. It’s just incredible,” she said.

A strong East Coast presence featured at the inaugural festival, including former Gisborne-born Reremoana Sheridan of Reremoana and Rongowhaakata woman Adrienne Whitewood of Adrienne Whitewood Clothing.

Puddick’s collection was embellished with jewellery designed by former Gisborne woman Nerida Johnstone of Henare jewellery.