November 2013: Embarking on her Whānau Ora journey has been incredible explains Ms. Whitewood. Key to achieving her goals was putting ideas onto paper, this helped Adrienne work out exactly what she wanted to achieve and helped form the steps that she needed to make her dreams a reality.
“I learnt so much on my Whānau Ora journey, it had a so many twists and turns but it was the plan itself, the action of being able to place words on paper that showed me exactly what I wanted to do and how I would achieve it”, says Adrienne.
Adrienne’s primary goal was to open a retail space, which would celebrate and promote her own unique designs as well as give Māori designers ‘street-level space’ where their products could be marketed and sold to both locals as well as tourists from around the world. Her whānau played a critical role in helping establish the store and have become integral to the development of AHU Boutique.
What Adrienne had not anticipated was that as a result of her Whānau Ora experience that her role as a young leader would become clear and that many young fashion designers were now looking up to her as someone who proved that through a solid plan, hard work and determination that dreams really do come true.
"I wanted to find a tangible way to help others support the idea that buying locally and using sustainable products is good for the whole community. My experience with Whānau Ora is that it allowed me to see beyond the basics and allowed me to believe in my dreams."
Adrienne’s boutique launched last month and she is currently stocking products from an array of Māori artists, designers and jewelers.