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June 6, 2014

Wellington’s entrepreneurial women: Lisa Tamati opens jewellery store; publishing house launches

Jack Yan/15.09

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Lisa Tamati, known in ultra-marathon circles, has a side to her that only a handful of fashionistas are aware of: she is a jeweller, trained in Wien, Austria, who has recently relocated from the Taranaki to Wellington, New Zealand.
   Tamati has opened a shop in Dukes’ Arcade on the corner of Willis and Manners Streets, where she retails her hand-crafted jewellery. She specializes in sterling silver, gold, gemstones, paua, jade and pearls. The designs show a finesse and delicacy, combining her Māori heritage and Pākehā education with the skills she acquired studying and working under Michael Eipeldauer in Wien.
   It is not her first endeavour into retail, having opened shops in Austria and in New Plymouth.
   Tamati is also selling her second book, Running to Extremes, at her store. Her first book, Running Hot, talked of her experience in ultra-marathons. She was the first Australasian woman to compete in the Badwater ultra-marathon in Death Valley, despite a crippling back injury sustained when she was 19. She had already faced an unassisted crossing of the Libyan desert as a personal challenge, and run 222 km across the Niger desert despite suffering from dysentery. In the follow-up, she goes further into the ultra-marathon world, including a second Badwater, the Gobi March, a Saharan race, and La Ultra, 222 km in the Himalayas.
   Despite these achievements, Tamati remains extremely humble and it was her guests at her store opening at the end of May, clamouring to get photographed with her, who were the focus of her attention.
   Tamati is not the only woman to launch a business in Wellington recently. Lawyer Clare Needham has embarked on an independent publishing venture, Giant Sparrow Press, releasing the company’s first title, ShameJoy, at an event earlier this week.
   Written by Julie Hill, ShameJoy—the English translation for Schadenfreude—has a unique New Zealand perspective as well as a dark sense of humour. Hill gave a reading of two short stories from the anthology on Tuesday, which delighted the audience at the launch, while the book itself is available online via Giant Sparrow Press’s website (www.giantsparrowpress.com/bookshop.html).—Jack Yan, Publisher

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