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Kiri Nathan

Fashion designer and business owner

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Kiri Nathan is co-founder of self-named fashion brand KIRI NATHAN.  KN embodies identity and inclusivity. Inspired by Aotearoa New Zealand & Te Ao Māori, the company is built on tradition, culture, unique designs, integrity, and a clear company vision. 

Kiri was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and the fashion Industry in the 2020 Queens Birthday honours.


Kiri was awarded a Sir Peter Blake leadership honour and won the collaboration section and over all supreme award therefore named MWDI Māori Businesswoman of the year 2019.  


In July of 2021 Kiri was inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs.  


Kiri founded the Kāhui Collective in 2017, which supports the growth and mentorship of indigenous creatives and entrepreneurs.   Kiri also contributes to many artistic initiatives and commissions.  In 2021, Kiri completed an intensive 36wk full immersion Te Reo Māori programme. 

After completing a Visual Arts degree, Fashion Major, she returned to the marae (meeting house) to learn traditional and contemporary Māori weaving, these elements fused together along with business acumen and eventuated in the birth and continued evolution of the KN brand, Mentorship and Arts Initiatives.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand wears the KN brand.  Kiri has personally met and gifted KN Taonga and Kākahu to President Barack Obama, BEYONCÉ, Mariah Carey and Demi Lovato.  KN products are owned by Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Michelle Obama, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen and WILL I AM to name a few. 

Kiri dressed JoJo Rabbit producer Chelsea Winstanley in a handwoven silk gown for her best picture nomination on the Oscars red carpet 2020. Chelsea was recognised as the first indigenous producer nominated for best picture at the academy.


By the request of New Zealand Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Kiri hand wove two contemporary Kākahu, utilised to cloak Women in all future Dame Investiture ceremonies. 



Kiri has continued to create world firsts; she is the first New Zealand creative to be invited by the British Council & British Fashion Council to London Fashion Week International Showcase.  The first New Zealand Fashion designer to work with Walt Disney for the world premiere of “MOANA” which led to the acquisition of a KN handwoven Kākahu in the Walt Disney Museum (white handwoven contemporary Kākahu in white feather, worn by voice of Moana Auli’I Cravalho at the London Premier).   In 2017, Kiri was the first New Zealander selected for an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) by the US State Department for “Women in Entrepreneurship”, she and 47 other indigenous women representing their countries participated in the three-week state program.


Kiri and Jason are the first and only New Zealanders to be invited to show at the international celebration of silk, an initiative of the Queen of Thailand for the restoration and revitalisation of traditional Thai practices and artforms.  


After founding the Kāhui Fashion Collective in 2017 by taking five Māori creatives to China and introducing and supporting them into trade within the largest fabric markets in the world.  In 2019 she travelled a delegation of 15 Māori to China with the added “into market” focus.  Facilitating high level meetings with market buyers and distributors. She formed this initiative to support the first community of Māori fashion designers that genuinely tautoko (support) each other’s growth and success.  With kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and manaakitanga (Caring for others) at the fore, it lives as an example of how fellow creatives can thrive in collaborative spaces, whilst still maintaining their individual voices.  Voices that have greater impact and focused intention in numbers, in a tribe.


Kiri has been invited to form the first Māori Fashion Coalition with NZTE and is working with ATEED, Britomart Group and the Auckland international Airport to create physical and online retail opportunities for Māori fashion and art.


KN has shown at New Zealand Fashion Week and Guangzhou Fashion Week China. The Museum of New Zealand Te papa Tongarewa acquired thirteen KN pieces in 2017 and the afore mentioned OSCARS gown for New Zealand’s National collection. 


Alongside this, Kiri sit on New Zealand China Council board, the New Zealand Mindful Fashion board and is a founding board member of ‘I have a Dream’ charitable trust, supporting the education of over 1500 decile one children from the far north of New Zealand.


Kiri was the first Māori finalist for SheEO and one of three successful Māori ventures in 2020.  Kiri has dedicated years to forming relationships within mainstream women’s organisations with the intention of encouraging more Māori representation and cultural connection. 


Kiri worked alongside SPARK to recognise a misappropriated KN artwork, that eventuated in the first major New Zealand corporate policy change (implementing cultural training and commitment to working with Māori-on-Māori initiatives).  An excellent example of how a corporate New Zealand can get it right! 


Most importantly, Kiri is mother to five Tamariki (children) and three Moko (grandchildren). 

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