So, my family originally come from up north and are from Ruatoria as we whakaapaback to Ngati Porou. My nana brought my Mum and my Aunty down when they were quite young, so they grew up here as well. I think I have always enjoyed Christchurch; I went to school and high school here. After the earthquakes we actually moved to Auckland. I hated it. Just because it’s so big and we only ended up being there for three months. My Mum is an architectural designer so after the earthquakes it actually It made sense that we came back. We came back and I just haven't left, I don’t really have a desire to leave either. I like Wellington, but I just feel Christchurch has a lot to offer in terms of connections and the people that I know. I think they inspire a lot of what I do. Sounds so cliché, but like the people that you keep as company inspire you.
I think the main things right now that I enjoy about Christchurch is Church. The community at Majestic is super nice and I have never stepped foot into somewhere that is so creative and will find something in you even when you think you’re not so creative. They’re like “Do you know you can do this? We’re going to find something for you to do.” And then they do and you’re like woah I didn’t know I could actually do this. It’s really nice to have that supportive community and not only community but also supportive friends.
I think people say that there's nothing to do in Christchurch, but I think those people just have small minds. Like there’s always things to go do, even like little things. It’s fun to do the small out of the ordinary things. So, like for example time zone, go to coffee and find the new quirky cafes around, go to the hills and watch a movie in the car. The little things that you don’t think of, but they don’t even have to cost a lot of money. You can make your own fun. I think people only think there's nothing here because they’re used to it and that’s like anything. You know you’ve got to just keep finding the new and you’ll realise what you’ve got. I really enjoy Christchurch.
I started youth leading at YAT (Youth Alive Trust) in 2011 and finished there in 2015 because it was just through high school and when I went to uni I just had no time. YAT was really fun, inspiring and cool. Ultimately that has led up to where I am now. After that I stopped youth leading and I returned when I was at Majestic. Last year through COVID like most people did take a toll and I felt like it was a lot to take on when it felt like I wasn't coping myself. So, I stepped back for a couple of weeks because I wanted to be there 100% for youth.
If I can't be there 100% for myself, then I can’t be there 100% for the young people.
This year I’ve stepped back as I wanted to pursue full time employment and focus on that. I just felt like I wouldn’t have enough time which is really sad. But then I ended up getting a position working with youth and that’s crazy it feels like everything has just fallen into place. I think YAT was where I found my passion for working with youth.
During Uni I was working two jobs but I still felt like I wasn’t earning enough money so started a side hustle. That came about as I started op shopping my own stuff and people really liked my clothes and would ask, “Oh are you selling anything?” and I would reply, “No, why would I sell my stuff? I usually just donate them!” From that thought I decided to do market. I remember I originally called it ‘Raid Ruby's Robe.’ I sold a bit and then I started selling on my personal page. Then it just flourished. I was like ok people are liking what I am doing, I should take this further. When COVID came around and I got made redundant from one of my jobs, I started doing it full time. That was actually my main source of income last year.
When we asked Ruby how her new name came about, her eyes lit up with excitement as she explained,
So, I never wanted to have a business name. I just wanted it to be me selling clothes and people who knew me buying it. However, one day I was thinking how I would like a name that had something to do with second hand and to do with shopping sustainably. I thought it would be cool to incorporate my love for shopping and my love for te reo Māori both together and that’s kind of how it came about. I went into Māori dictionary and I was like what's the word for second hand and it turns out ‘Oru Oru’ is the word for second hand or hand me down. It kind of means when you pass something through generations, and I was like that sounds quite cool. It reflects the two things I am totally passionate about, second hand shopping and te reo māori.
t's cool because people ask me how to pronounce it and I get to pass down te reo Māori as well to them by them just asking how I pronounce my business name. It’s opened loads of gates for me being able to openly talk about being Māori and not growing up with Māori and having to go find it by going to uni. Then I’ve been able to teach people and sell some ‘Te reo Māori phonetic calendars.’
That came about by people not being able to speak te reo Māori and being too shy to ask how and I thought if you can see it phonetically and break it down into how you would say it in NZ English then it might be easier for people. They did really well. The first time I sold 60 and then around 60 again this year. It’s really cool I remember going to the printing shop to print something and the lady there was like “You don’t happen to print these calendars, do you?” And she already had one in the printing shop that her daughter had given to her for Christmas.
Right now I'm in the process of making te reo Māori cards and numbers so people can learn how to do the numbers and phonetics that way. So yeah, it has been huge having the one business and to get the word out about te reo Māori and for it to be a part of me in that way. When I first went to uni, I was more like a c’s get degree type person. It wasn’t meant to be for long. I realised I hated working where I was full time and I wanted to do something with my brain, and I really enjoyed biological sciences at school.
It wasn't until 1 ½ years into Uni that I was like wow you’re paying for this and you should probably start putting in the effort. So, I said you know what you can do this. I started staying up late, pulling all nighters, and showering at Eng block before my exams because I was studying so much. I feel like I’ve always said I wasn’t born to do a science degree, but I love it and if you love something you make it work. I learnt so much. Even during that degree I went to Thailand. I actually applied to go and ended up revoking my application as I didn’t think I was good enough. The guy who was organising it at the time for us ended up messaging me and was like “Why did you remove it? Come have a meeting with me. I really liked your application and let's chat it over” and he ended up recommending me to go.
Honestly everything happens for a reason. Thailand was the changing point in my entire life. On the Thailand trip was where I met Sam Bros. He was the turning point in my life for coming back to church. When we arrived back, he was like “Hey! You should come to church and check out majestic.” I was like “Nah I’m good.” He kept asking and in the end, I said, “You know what I’ll come check it out just so you stop asking me.” I get there, and it was all these flashing lights, no pews in sight, and real nice people. I was really shocked. Nothing against Catholic Church or anything, I just think when you’ve been a part of something for so long like how I was in the Catholic Church, it just becomes the norm, and I wasn’t really enjoying the norm anymore. And just from there everything flourished from coming back to church.
In Thailand I loved the culture so much that I wanted to start learning about my own.
So, then I came back and started learning Te Reo Māori and indigenous knowledge and then through that I have just felt so much more grounded in myself because it’s a part of me I didn’t realise I had lost or did not have. I think it was a part of me I had all along, I just didn’t know about it and so I got to unlock those certain parts of my life. Growing up, because there was such a negative stereotype towards Māori when people asked, “Where are you from?” I’d be like yeah, I’m Māori but I’m Irish too. And people would be like oh Irish that’s so cool. But now I say, “I’m Māori” It’s cool to be able to be confident in who you are and say you know what I am this. I am Māori and to be able to make a positive impact upon people's perspective of Maori. Like going to university, studying biological sciences, doing the UCMe billboards and just being a positive impact upon Māori youth and now getting to do that for a job, that’s really cool.
I went from c’s get degrees to being able to go to the scholarship to Thailand, the UCME campaign, achieving in the top 15% of uni, and being a A+ Person. It was just like woah, I would have never thought that five years ago I would’ve graduated from university. It wasn’t that my family didn’t believe in me, they wholeheartedly did, it was just that I didn’t believe in myself. And now I am like imagine if I didn’t believe in myself. If I actually was like no, see yah! Where would I be now?
My mum has been my biggest support system. She’s always said do what sets your soul on fire and makes you happy. I think I’ve realised, especially coming into this job I’m starting that not all people are as fortunate enough to have the support system that I had.
So it will be cool to pass that knowledge on to others like my mum did to me. To be able to say,
“You can do this, what is stopping you? You're only stopping yourself. There is really nothing that you can’t achieve. If you love something, do it. If you want to try something, do it. The worst you can do is fail and then you just try again."
I think people are afraid of failure but, maybe some people are afraid of success?
I always think of everything you’ve gained like putting it in a basket of knowledge and you carry them with you throughout. Having those things really opened my mind as to what Christchurch can be, what Christchurch is, and what you can do. As I said it’s all about doing what you love and finding joy in the small things, going to the red zone and having a picnic, going to the cool new movie theatres, doing something you wouldn’t normally do- save up some money and go have a fancy dinner on the terrace, go share a platter with friends.
There are many things to do, I just think people forget and get so overwhelmed with being stuck. And it's like you’re not actually stuck you’re just not realising there's different routes to take things.
I just really enjoy Christchurch. I don’t even know what it is about Christchurch but it’s the feel, it’s the community, it’s the people. Everyone is so supportive. Christchurch will always be home to me and it’s just such a peaceful space. Even in Aotearoa we take for granted how peaceful it is here. There’s so much space. I think here in Christchurch people take Christchurch for granted for what it is. It's still growing and even though we are 10 years on from the earthquake's things are still happening. I think if things weren't still happening, we wouldn't be able to progress. I think it’s a matter of waiting and enjoy the wait. We’ll get there and we will rebuild - enjoying the journey that you can do in the meantime.
I soon realised early on that it's not the place that is the problem, it was me. It was the things I was surrounding myself with. It was the people I was choosing to associate with. It was the jobs I was choosing to do. It’s not the place at all that’s the problem. It’s what you’re choosing to do where you are. I think that’s a good way of looking at Christchurch too, people can’t wait to move away but you move away to Aussie and the exact same thing happens, you’re there for a couple of years and the new is no longer amazing. My advice is, find the joy in the little things, Realise it's not the place where you are it’s what you’re doing in it and with it.