Perhaps the most exciting venture to emerge out of Auckland’s scene at the moment: Companion — pulled together by Will and Kareen Durbin, who are working in collaboration with migrants and former refugees now living in New Zealand.

“Meaningful employment is a crucial component for successful integration. But, the market economy marginalises, few benefiting profitably. Through integrating a human bottom line we use business as a as a means of inclusion.”


Creating opportunities for connection through crafting furniture and textile items, Companion celebrates diversity in a context of politicised debate around refugee quotas and the economic impact of migrants.

Skills carried here on migration dictate their process as they explore contemporary outcomes via collisions of tradition.

‘Success’ is measured by social and environmental impact. In adherence with Slow Design principles Companion design for minimum waste and to cultivate meaningful relationships & employment opportunities. Everything made is 100% unique, with marks of artisans’ hands and minds.

To the right is a selection of my favourite Companion offerings…










[The stone sculpture featured in the photograph above is by Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, called Huitu’a, 1997, and sits in the courtyard of the Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.]