Donna-Maree Survivor

Donna-Maree Taonga market stall at Pride Fest Out West.

Donna-Maree Smith had a brain meningioma removed 3 years ago, forcing her to have to relearn how to do everyday things. Despite those challenges she proves time and time again that nothing can slow her down.  

She came to TAP Lab full of ambition to make her own earrings after trying to attend (but missing out) a Matariki themed earring making workshop. It was challenging starting out, she had very low-computer literacy and memory difficulties, however after much patience and determination she can now use design software and operate the laser cutter safely. 

A collaboration with her husband Bill a traditional whakairo master, he made a treasure box with the Māori designs and Donna-Maree had used laser engraving for the name. 

Pushing the limits of what the laser cutter can do she has become a welcome and familiar face, encouraging other undecided women with, “if I can do it, so can you!”. She has used her creativity to combine traditional Whakairo (Māori wood carving) her husband does with her new laser cutting skills. 

A selection of earring designs that she makes and sells.

We look forward to seeing where her new skills will take her. 

If you’d like to see more of her work you can find her at:  
Donna-Maree Taonga