Maker interview: The Kiwi Diary

The Kiwi Diary

A great diary is still a staple for many of us, and in the last year or two I’ve spoken to many people who, like me, have ditched the smart phone app in favour of going back to paper.  Finding a locally made one that goes beyond blank pages for each day is a score, so this week we’re talking to Freda from The Kiwi Diary. Sit back, skip to the end for the happy playlist, then scroll back up and listen while you read!

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  • How do you describe your work?

I seem to describe it a little differently every time… I’ll blame the highly organic design process for that. The Kiwi Diary is a beautiful collision (to steal Bic Runga’s words) of the practicality of a diary, the irreplaceable tactile experience and tangibility of a printed book, with the inspirational beauty that drips from pens and minds of creative kiwis in their moments of inspiration, into 240 pages.  It’s content you won’t find anywhere else, interspersed with the diary pages, so you’re only a page away from a mindspark.

I recently saw the ‘Brain Pickings‘ website and feel like Kiwi Diary has very similar goals.  I get excited about finding useful ideas to share, contributors include academics, PhD students, adventurers, people pushing boundaries or are passionately pursuing what they believe in, feature writers, artists, chefs or poets; content that hits from a different angle to regular mainstream media.

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  •  How did you learn the skills needed to make your products?

While studying towards a double degree in psychology and French at Otago, I took some design and graphic design papers.  Years later I completed a diploma in Graphic design at Natcol.

  •  What prompted you to turn your skills into a business?

The prompt was my friend and Kiwi Diary co-founder Annabel first having the idea that became The inaugural Kiwi Diary!  I’ve always loved words and pictures, I first made a ‘magazine’ at age 4, when I discovered dad’s spare paper, scissors and stapler – when I folded the paper, stapled it in the middle and made my first ‘magazine’, something illuminated inside me.  I found out years later that my great uncle Arthur McKee was one of New Zealand’s first publishers, and 1 of the 3 directors of the first, ‘Cyclopedia of New Zealand’ which began in 1897!

  •  Which is your favourite product to make?

Mama’s veg pie?  Haha haven’t gone to market with that yet though, but wait till I do!

Mama's Vege Pie

Seriously, I love the feeling of weaving so much goodness into a small book to put a smile on the dial of anyone who dips in.

  • Many people craft to relax.  What do you do to relax?

Absorbing photon!  Preferably whilst swinging lazily in a hammock watching the tropical beach sunset.  If this isn’t within reach, my tickets to relaxation (aside from sleep!) are sea swims, cycling, QT with a good friend, bad dance moves at live gigs, yoga, a good book, or letting loose in the kitchen create something huge, messy, colourful and hopefully remotely edible!

  • What’s your all-time favourite happy song?

Too many to pick just one!

And in related news… The Kiwi Diary has just gone on sale – down to $23 – a fantastic value for a beautiful publication like this, that juxtaposes art, prose, poetry, recipes, and essays with your daily calendar.  If you can’t get into the shop, but would still like a copy, drop us an line, and we can do mail order for you (P&P $6.50 NZ-wide).

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