In conversation

Monique Hemmingson Journal

In conversation

Since 2018 we have been proudly 100% New Zealand owned and operated. Recognising the unique position we’re in to have a positive impact on the place we call home, we’ve been working with a range of local artisans to highlight their unique craftsmanship and the essence of community, much like Monique Hemmingson, the author of Wild Kinship; a collection of conversations with New Zealand business owners doing their bit to change the world for the better.

We caught up with Monique to talk about the inspiration behind Wild Kinship and her stance around conscious consumption in a fast-paced world.

Can you share a bit about your background?

I left high-school early to get a Bachelor of Media Arts which included writing papers and worked for an independent newspaper straight out of my studies before further study in creative writing in New York. As life goes, I left New York with a strong desire to instead, travel the world, which lead me to working seven days a week each summer in hospitality in New Zealand to fund my winter travels. On one of these trips abroad I fell ill, which once again changed my direction and put me on a path to wholefoods and holistic wellness. This new found way of life in addition to my years of experience in hospitality led me to opening my wholefoods café and meeting these wonderful business owners who inspired Wild Kinship. It’s funny how life ebbs and flows. I feel like I have done full circle and this book is a combined collection of all of my past experiences.

You started a café at Mount Maunganui and sold that business to write a book, how difficult was that decision? I can imagine it was a big deal parting ways with something you invested time in building.

Yes, the café venture itself was super successful but behind the scenes my health started to suffer. I opened the café with the intention of sharing wholefoods, health and wellbeing with my community, which my own personal health journey had led me to. But, as many business owners find, it can be incredibly draining and demanding of your time and energy.

Hospitality can be an especially gruelling industry due to its seven days a week nature so once I started working on the book I decided to restructure my priorities, goals and own health; practice what I preach, so to speak and move on from the café. It was a bittersweet decision, but in the end I think the right one for that stage of my life.

What inspired you to write Wild Kinship?

The inspiration for Wild Kinship was a flow on effect from the café. I was working with a number of wonderful conscious brands via the café and realised they had a really important story to tell and offering to communicate with the world, at a really pinnacle time in society. I love how new experiences teach us and lead us onto unforeseen paths.

We have so many incredible local businesses around, how did you decide what businesses to include in your book?

I wanted to profile a really wide range of industries: old and new, big and small and with a range of different directors, to highlight that we can all be doing better in some way- no matter our background, interests, age or industry. We’ve seen incredible change in some areas like plastic shopping bags, for example, but it doesn’t stop there. If anything this should act as a great example of what we can achieve when we all come together and demand change. I wanted the reader to feel this undertone when working their way through the book, realising how varied it can be.

We’ve been on a journey lately reinventing our brand to focus on our relationships with people and planet, what are your thoughts around sustainability and conscious consumption?

I have watched as Max has worked through this transition and it really is a beautiful example of the change in the air and it’s so exciting to see bigger companies taking on this responsibility. I believe having a conscious connection in every area of our lives is incredibly beneficial both personally and for the world around us. Knowing where your food comes from, what is in your skincare or who makes your clothes, knowing your baker and your butcher or grower helps to aid community and a sense of belonging, bolsters small business, makes us aware of our impact and leads to slower living and less consumption. Taking responsibility of our daily actions means we are casting a vote for the world we want to live in- which is huge. I think it is also important to note, however, that no one is perfect. We do not yet live in a world where this is possible and I think this pressure of perfection is a deterrent for many people and leads to hopelessness. But if each of us were doing our best, most of the time, it really could shake the world.

Wild Kinship

What’s are your wardrobe go-to’s when it comes to winter outfitting?

I love winter wardrobes; big chunky knits over midi dresses with a great pair of ankle boots is a favourite and I love popping a blazer over a casual outfit. Although recently, since the birth of my daughter, I have found a whole new love for Mom Jeans and can imagine they will be seeing me through this winter.

Lastly, what inspires you each day?

I am forever inspired by other writers; reading a good book is my absolute favourite form of entertainment and inspires me to my core. Being in nature is also hugely inspiring and grounding and so important to do every day.

Photography and words by

Monique Hemmingson

Shop the look