Life along the shoreline: A visual series by Ophelia and Ryder Jones

Words by Yu Mei
Photography by Ophelia and Ryder Jones

Contemporary artist, Claudia Kogachi, captured in Tāwharanui Peninsula

To mark the launch of UTILITY by Yu Mei and our collaboration with ECONYL®, we turned to photographers Ophelia and Ryder Jones to pay homage to the greatest ecosystem that surrounds and sustains us: our ocean.

Ophelia and Ryder have intimately documented individuals from the shoreline communities of Aotearoa, their subjects interconnected by their mutual admiration, inspiration, and symbiotic relationship with the sea.

Their voyeuristic and spontaneous lens captures the ocean's beauty and its profound role in life to which we are all intrinsically linked. A moment in time underscoring the critical importance of cherishing and preserving it for our future.

a) The majestic cliffs of Hahei, Coromandel b) Claudia in the Tāwharanui Peninsula surf

a) Contemporary Artist, Arapeta Hākura, captured in Tāwharanui Peninsula b) The light and rock formations of Tāwharanui Peninsula

Tairua, Coromandel

This special project draws inspiration from our proud partnership with Italian-based company Aquafil, which has enabled us to craft the UTILITY range exclusively in ECONYL® regenerated nylon. The material is created by recovering nylon waste, such as fishing nets, carpets and industrial waste destined for landfill. The waste is recycled to its original purity through a radical regeneration and purification process, ready for us to create with—a further step in our ongoing commitment to regenerative processes and circular models.

a) A snapshot of time in Ahipara, Far North b) The UTILITY Large Organiser captured on the Te Arai dunes

a) The Huts founder, Kelly Murphy, captured in Ahipara b) Oysters and Chips in Kawakawa, Northland

“The Moana Ocean is my place of reconciliation. My place where I remember that I am the world and the world is me. That I—and all our more-than-human kin—belong. Everyone should have that place.” — Kelly Murphy, co-founder of elemental and eco-accommodation, The Huts in Ahipara

Scenes in Ahipara, Northland

a) Arapeta’s handmade necklace of harakeke and mother of pearl shells b) Dusk on Waiheke Island

Freshly caught fish from Te Ngaere Bay, Northland

“For this project we photographed people and their relationship to the moana ocean but more than that we had conversations about how we can do better to protect it, heard stories that held deeply personal histories in these coastlines and shared in the joy and peace that the water brings. Being in communion with the ocean is something we base our lives around which made this project really exciting and important to us.” — Ophelia and Ryder Jones

a) Mangawhai rockpools b) The UTILITY Medium Organiser captured in Te Arai

a) Arapeta in the trees of Tāwharanui Peninsula b) The evening sky in Hahei, Coromandel

“Whānau Family, Rongo Peace, and Kōtahitanga Oneness is how I would describe my intrinsic relationship to the Moana Ocean. My whānau are Ocean people who have been fishing and surfing along the coast of Leigh and the Hauraki since the early 1400s. Connecting to this place through the act of this shoot is one that is important to the storytelling of this coast, its peoples and communities. As Ocean people we have a saying that, as the Oceans change, we as people must also change.” — Arapeta Hākura, contemporary artist

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