The idea for Cu-tio (=cute oyster) was born in 2019 but the idea behind it goes back to 2014. When Mahdis first moved to Aoteroa in 2014 (to pursue her PhD) the first blog she started to follow in order to prepare for her move was Tina Ngata's blog Non-plastic Maori. Tina Ngata's work was inspiring and eye-opening. Anaru is a diver and aware of the ways in which plastic pollution is/ and has impacted our moana. Since meeting in 2015 we have tried to reduce our own plastic consumption and work towards more sustainable futures.
In 2019 we had our first Christmas on our own, without any family nearby, and found it very hard to find decoration that was not Northern hemisphere specific and/or made out of plastic. As non-religious people, we wanted to celebrate the occasion in a way that felt right to our local Aotearoa context & and our own values. So together we decided to make our very own decoration and started collecting shells on our beach walks. That's when the first set of 'cute oysters' were made. Our friends loved them and wanted their own set, much to the delight of Mahdis for whom crafting is therapeutic. As a good partner in crime Anaru collects shells, drills holes, and supports the creative project working from their backyard in Tamaki Makauru. We share Cu-tio hoping that others can see the beauty in oyster shells and embrace natural decorations - for holidays and beyond.