Pacific rims

Renowned Māori tā moko artist Mokonuiarangi Smith has collaborated with Specsavers to create a very special pair of frames.

Donning a pair of Specsavers x Moko Smith glasses will undoubtedly add a new edge to any look as well as turn heads.

The side profile features distinctive taratara notching that represents a genealogy pattern “to honour our shared descent from those ancient Oceanic navigators”.

These satisfyingly simple patterns are found throughout many Oceanic cultures and Moko hopes will keep our cultural aesthetic alive and strong in our region – and by that he means New Zealand as well as the wider Pacific.

This is particularly poignant as $25 from the sale of each pair of glasses sold in the limited edition range is donated to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to help them in ending avoidable blindness in the Pacific.

A key focus of The Foundation is to work with Pacific partners to train and support Pacific eye care specialists, leading to strengthened eye health systems and creating more sustainable eye care services delivered by Pacific people.

Since Specsavers’ partnership with The Foundation began in 2012, Specsavers has contributed more than $1 million dollars towards The Foundation’s programmes in Fiji, helping to treat people living with preventable vision loss in the Pacific.

In 2016, Specsavers’ first limited edition frames were released featuring the work of well-known New Zealand artist Dick Frizzell, and again in 2019. These were followed by frames showcasing the abstract paintings of Samoan artist Fatu Feu’u in 2020 and 2022.

This is the first time the eyewear company has worked with a tā moko artist and Moko, who goes by the name Moko Smith, is a young revivalist of the tā moko working with Uhi (pronounced ooh-he) – traditional hand-tapping tattoo tools.

Based in Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland, Moko (Tainui, Te Arawa, Takitimu, Horouta and Mataatua) was raised in the city in a family of cultural workers and educators.

Trained in Rarotonga, Moko’s artwork is influenced by whakapapa connections that span the Pacific and dances between references to ancient Polynesian familial ties that connect Māori with wider Pacific origins and more recent artistic evolutions that we commonly associate as being classical toi Māori (art).

Moko works to bridge the old world with the new. The profile of the eye-catching Moko Smith frames are not the only unique design element. “The inside of the frames feature the Karu o te Whenua pattern, acknowledging the many communities holding fast to their cultural ways while also acknowledging the role Specsavers has played in helping uplift eye health within these communities,” says Moko.

“The lens cloth features the Ara Moana pattern to speak to the many journeys of our forebears in navigating the vast trackless ocean paths of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, setting up homes and affiliations across far flung islands.” Priced from $169 for 2 pairs single-vision, the range includes two frames – one optical and one sun exclusively at Specsavers, and $25 from each pair of glasses sold is donated to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. specsavers.co.nz

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