Behind Whenua - Our Story


Our business, "Whenua," is a small, family-owned enterprise launched in August 2020. The business is run by Shivonne Tufuga (née Kutia) and her mother, Lynette Kutia, with the support of their husbands, Fareti Tufuga and Tuara Kutia.

Shivonne, originally from Gisborne, grew up in Otane, a small town in Central Hawke's Bay. She is of Māori descent, belonging to the Ngāti Kōnohi and Ngāti Porou tribes. Shivonne has been married for nine years to Fareti, who has Samoan, Māori, and Cook Island heritage. Together, they have three beautiful children—Mathius, Milayna, and Makarn, and are expecting their fourth child in October 2024.  Our family lives and works on our papakāinga property in Te Tairawhiti.

The idea for Whenua began in mid-2019 when Shivonne was inspired to create a baby onesie that celebrated the beauty of different cultures, particularly Māori and Polynesian. This inspiration came from her husband and children, who embody both Māori and Polynesian heritage.

Struggling to find unique and culturally representative clothing for her daughter Milayna, who was eight months old at the time, Shivonne decided to sketch a design. With the support of her mother, Lynette, they spent almost a year planning and researching, and in August 2020, they successfully launched their line of pēpi kākahu (baby clothing) to the public.