The fragrances of the land are captivating and mysterious. They call you like sirens to the ships watchmen. "Explore me, discover me. I am adventure." Every man hears this call at some point in their life. How did you respond?
I was surrounded by fragrances of the land growing up in rural Tai Tokerau Northland New Zealand. It was not until I reached my late twenties that I realised how much of an impact my childhood and teenage environment would have on me.
I will always remember the aromas of the forest as we walked and chased pigs and possums through the bush; the landscapes of Northland, the immense difference in scents from the tree's crossing from pine forests into Native clad hills. Rugby fields, changing sheds, hay bailing, and digging posts and hangi holes on farms and Maraes around the North are things I will never forget. The fragrances of the land are enchanting.
Each one of these environments has a fragrance that brings back memories and stories, in many cases being enchanted or trying to enchant a beautiful damsel.
Most blokes I know have a memory of their first fragrance, usually the one you pinch from Dad's chest of drawers, Brut in my case. You realise the BO after a game of rugby or basketball just won't cut it if you want cuddles at the after party. No matter how handsome you are, you need to smell good.
I remember my first perfume was given to me by a girlfriend at high school. It was a bottle of mini Calvin Klein be. I made that bottle last -it was a tiny thing of maybe 10 Mls that I kept for years.
Calvin Klein became the go to as it did for many others in the 90s.
Over the next 10 years, I tried a variety of fragrances, as you often do as a young buck drowning in fragrance -never a classy move.
Isimiyaki, Jean Paul, Hugo Boss and Armani Code all had their turn in my bathroom.
Armani Code has a story of its own for me. My girlfriend at the time who I am now fortunate to call my wife bought me a bottle of Armani Code for Valentine's one year. I remember where we were sitting at Lake Pupuke in Takapuna in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland on an overcast day. Opening the box and smelling it for the first time was pure gold brought a ray of sunshine to my day..
I wore that for years as most men do when their wife or partner buys them a fragrance.
It was not until a few years later that I discovered Ārita One Desire Native Fragrance with my mate James that I found my scent for life.
I was photographing the New Zealand Beach Volleyball pro tour down at Lake Karapiro and met James Ehau in between shooting Volleyball games. There were many jokes cracked about how hard a life I was leading at that point.
The Native fragrances James had developed excited me a lot as they carried the essence of my identity, telling the Polynesian story of migration and our Maori story of exploration and ambition.
My wife Rebekah and I had been talking about developing a cosmetics range for some time with Rebekah having a history of makeup and skincare rituals embedded within her culture of over 40,000 years in Papua New Guinea and mine with Maori in New Zealand.
Watch this space as there are some exciting things coming in our fragrance range in the next year.
That is a whistle stop tour of my history with fragrance. What's your story? we would love to hear the story of your first.