"Designing A Better Future Resonates With Me On Many Levels"

Lorde shares her experience as a guest editor for the latest issue of Viva Magazine

Lorde at Te Uru Gallery. Photo / Hohua Ropate Kurene

Kia ora koutou katoa.

My name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, and it’s my pleasure to be writing to you as the first-ever guest editor of Viva Magazine.

A question I get asked a lot by Kiwis is “Where do you live?” People are always surprised when I say I live in Tamaki Makaurau, probably because I spend large chunks of most years overseas.

And the truth is, it’s a journey navigating that duality — maintaining a connection to the issues that move New Zealanders while also doing my job and staying connected in the rest of the world.

At times, it can be isolating. So, when the opportunity arose to work with Viva, a publication that’s gone from strength to strength telling thoughtful stories about local fashion, beauty, and so much more, I jumped at the chance.

My first move as guest editor was commissioning two stories on subjects that have been great sources of learning for me in recent years — the reclamation of te reo by young Maori, and the Indigenous land guardianship movement.

Shilo Kino writes powerfully about her experience in a full immersion te reo wananga, and speaks to one of my best friends, Ruby Higgins, whose journey of connecting with te ao Maori through reo has been moving and awe-inspiring to witness firsthand.

Meanwhile, journalist and documentary-maker Sharron Ward, who has returned home after 20 years abroad, set out to meet the passionate people behind the ‘protect’ movements taking place around Aotearoa to learn more about their actions to push back against ecological overshoot and the after-effect of colonisation.

Behind the scenes for volume seven of Viva Magazine. Photo / Dan Ahwa

Shooting the cover story with Hohua Ropate Kurene at the beautiful Te Uru Gallery in Titirangi was one of the most special days I’ve ever had on set. Hohua blew me away with his world-class skill and gorgeous energy.

Viva’s creative and fashion director Dan Ahwa brought together the very best of our local makers with a focus on sustainability and Indigenous designers, and I went home that evening buzzing.

The issue’s theme, Designing a Better Future, resonates with me on many levels. I’m constantly trying to learn and grow in order to best advocate for those who gave me a voice.

And, from a personal perspective, I’m always looking for ways to reduce my footprint, spend thoughtfully and learn about different ways of being… and look cute. If we’re being honest.

All this and more is encapsulated in this issue.

It’s a banger. I hope you love it as much as I do.

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