How Aeon Giftware Began
It All Began In A Garage
Aeon’s beginnings, like many businesses, grew from a passion – owner Mike Carlton has always been passionate about art, and Maori art/design. The story begins in 1990, when the tiny township of Katikati (Eastern Bay of Plenty) was struggling. Mike was one of a number of volunteers who believed that by depicting the unique history of the area with painted murals on the walls of the town, visitor numbers would increase. Mike’s role included fundraising for the now famous murals. It also involved making screen-printed Kauri coasters with mural artwork, and selling them through local craft outlets.
So, it all began in a garage.
Increasing demand resulted in an extension to the souvenir and giftware range, steadily progressing to include iconic kiwi and ethnic themes. It also required an upgrade in location and approach to manufacturing techniques. In 1995, Aeon Giftware opened a purpose built premise in its current location on View Road, Rotorua. Today, Aeon in one of New Zealand's leading wooden giftware suppliers, and also ships worldwide.
Mike is of Ngati Whakaue descent, and inherited much of his mother’s artistic talent. New technology was introduced in 1993, in the form of New Zealand’s first laser engraver. This enabled Mike to produce many forms of multi layered carving and ethnic pieces, all in minute detail. Aeon Giftware currently operates three laser engravers. The entire process is challenging, from conception, designs, programming, manufacturing, assembling, marketing and customer service. The whole operation requires a combination of artistic talent, sound business sense and practice with leading edge technology.