Our Stories

Jesse Waetford


Jesse was inspired to start her own business so she could be around her young daughter in her early years, and work-family-life balance now sits at the core of her brand, Modern Rituals.

As a new mother, Jesse didn’t realise was how much motherhood would impact on the time she had for her own self-care.

Around the same time, Kawiti saw a social media post for The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, which they enrolled in and completed online during lockdown in March 2020.

Jesse believes the programme helped them set the foundations needed for their business creating and selling self-care products inspired by rituals, and set them on their entrepreneurial journey.

Modern Rituals is Jesse’s way of providing “simple yet stunning self-care products that help remind one of their magic and inspire people to honour themselves every single day”. 

Like Kawiti, Jesse is thankful for the help she has received, highlighting the mentorship programme,

Kawiti and I were very generously hooked up with Cecilia and James Robinson who set up My Food Bag,” she says, “I got to speak to people who were thinking really big, that was really inspiring for me.

Kawiti Waetford


Kawiti Waetford sees himself as a Māuipreneur, taking strength from Māui to himself become someone who breaks moulds and redefines what is possible for the rangatahi of Aotearoa.

He feels inspired by Māui, who he sees as an innovator, and someone who challenges the status quo, someone who pushes the boundaries of what we know and are comfortable with.

He is an established New Zealand opera singer; after a Degree in Music Majoring in Classical Voice Performance from Otago University, Kawiti travelled to the UK to complete a Master’s in Advanced Vocal Studies. He was mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, training and performing internationally.

However, Kawiti and his wife, Jesse, felt a calling back to Aotearoa New Zealand to focus on whānau in 2019, which led them to starting their new business venture, Modern Rituals.