THE DESIGN STORY
Sustainability is a pillar, a foundation!
According to the wisdom and tradition of my people, the Māori of New Zealand, there is a concept of guardianship and protection - kaitiakitanga.  We believe that we are just custodians of the water, the land, the air and all the creatures within these realms.  In this way a committment to building sustainability into everything I do is not just a business decision, it is an expectation of my people and my ancestors!  This committment flows through into my materials, my processes and the way I tell my stories
Kaitiakitanga - guardianship - is more than a "nice to have" in design process.  It is an absolute necessity and I take it very seriously.  I am a kaitiaki.  I am a custodian for those who come after me.  This is a pillar of what I do and who I am.
— Sonia McManus
MATERIALS
The selection of materials for Sonia Therese jewellery is a decision based on sustainability. All raw materials are chosen because they meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Recycled, reused, repurposed materials (for example all silver is 100% recycled)
  • Planet positive sources (for example New Zealand sourced alluvial gold, rather than open-cast or chemically extracted ore materials)
  • Made in New Zealand (packaging materials are NZ made whereever possible)
  • Environmentally and socially responsible (supporting and building communities and businesses)
METHODS
It is a feature of Sonia Therese jewellery that all pieces have a prominant handmade element. The method of hand-making jewellery means that each piece has it's own personality, designed to reflect the unique qualities of the person who wears it.
As much as practicable, all pieces are cut, formed, shaped, polished and finished by hand. This means that you can see some of the work-marks in the jewellery once it is finished. These may be hammer marks, undulating edges, a non-mirror finish on metal and slightly unaligned letters in words.
Etched gold-plated, silver, copper and brass pieces feature hand-drawn designs where no two can ever be exactly the same. Resin pieces feature unique configurations of wood, slight differences in colour, shape and finishing.
Statement chains are also made by hand (although standard fine chains are not) and have subtle variations in the shape of links and clasps.

THE STORY
One of the things you will notice about Sonia Therese jewellery from the outset is that every single piece is imbued with story. Story-telling is a very important aspect of the design process!

I am passionate about telling the stories of my ancestors - in particular my Māori ancestors (the indigenous people of New Zealand). These stories include personal reflections as well as interpretations of traditional legends and wisdom of my people. Māori link our view of the world back to nature and this is a key aspect of the jewellery design and making.

You will find that all pieces speak of the connection with Papatuanuku (mother earth), Ranganui (Sky Father) and the gods, goddesses and everything in between. The intention with this story telling is that we all feel the connection we have with our planet, our common ancestors and with one another!