Renowned Maori ta moko artist Mokonuiara­ngi Smith has collaborat­ed with Specsavers to create a very special pair of frames.


Donning a pair of Specsavers x Moko Smith glasses will undoubtedl­y add a new edge to any look as well as turn heads.

The side profile features distinctiv­e taratara notching that represents a genealogy pattern “to honour our shared descent from those ancient Oceanic navigators”.

These satisfying­ly simple patterns are found throughout many Oceanic cultures and Moko hopes will keep our cultural aesthetic alive and strong in our region – and by that he means New Zealand as well as the wider Pacific.

This is particular­ly poignant as $25 from the sale of each pair of glasses sold in the limited edition range is donated to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to help them in ending avoidable blindness in the Pacific.

A key focus of The Foundation is to work with Pacific partners to train and support Pacific eye care specialist­s, leading to strengthen­ed eye health systems and creating more sustainabl­e eye care services delivered by Pacific people.

Since Specsavers’ partnershi­p with The Foundation began in 2012, Specsavers has contribute­d more than $1 million dollars towards The Foundation’s programmes in Fiji, helping to treat people living with preventabl­e vision loss in the Pacific.

In 2016, Specsavers’ first limited edition frames were released featuring the work of well-known New Zealand artist Dick Frizzell, and again in 2019. These were followed by frames showcasing the abstract paintings of Samoan artist Fatu Feu’u in 2020 and 2022.

This is the first time the eyewear company has worked with a ta moko artist and Moko, who goes by the name Moko Smith, is a young revivalist of the ta moko working with Uhi (pronounced ooh-he) – traditiona­l hand-tapping tattoo tools.

Based in Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland, Moko ( Tainui, Te Arawa, Takitimu, Horouta and Mataatua) was raised in the city in a family of cultural workers and educators.

Trained in Rarotonga, Moko’s artwork is influenced by whakapapa connection­s that span the Pacific and dances between references to ancient Polynesian familial ties that connect Maori with wider Pacific origins and more recent artistic evolutions that we commonly associate as being classical toi Maori (art).

Moko works to bridge the old world with the new. The profile of the eye-catching Moko Smith frames are not the only unique design element. “The inside of the frames feature the Karu o te Whenua pattern, acknowledg­ing the many communitie­s holding fast to their cultural ways while also acknowledg­ing the role Specsavers has played in helping uplift eye health within these communitie­s,” says Moko.

“The lens cloth features the Ara Moana pattern to speak to the many journeys of our forebears in navigating the vast trackless ocean paths of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, setting up homes and a iliations across far flung islands.”

Priced from $169 for 2 pairs single-vision, the range includes two frames – one optical and one sun exclusivel­y at Specsavers, and $25 from each pair of glasses sold is donated to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.

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