As a child, I always thought I would end up living somewhere else. I loved growing up here in rural North Canterbury but, like a lot of kids, I didn’t imagine myself settling down here. 

I met my husband Max while attending Canterbury University and we then moved to Auckland while Max completed his Masters of Architecture. Following graduation Max got a job in Christchurch as a graduate architect. On his second day the February earthquakes hit, changing everything and encouraging me to pursue my dream of owning my own business.

Make it Raw was born in 2011 in a small commercial kitchen in Fernside, North Canterbury. I produce a range of tasty, raw, gluten-free crackers, cereals and snack bars in small batches. I guess I have always had a real passion for wholesome, real food; something that harks back to my teenage years as a track and field athlete.

Early on I opened a stall at the Ohoka Farmers Market. From there, business really took off! The North Canterbury community was so supportive of my business and the market was such a great launch pad for my products. 

Make it Raw has come a long way since then. I now have a small, like-minded team and Make It Raw products are stocked in more than 65 stores throughout New Zealand.

When we found out we were pregnant with our second child we realised we needed a bigger home and longed for more space and a more rural upbringing for our kids. We wanted to be closer to my Fernside kitchen and with the new Northern Corridor the commute for Max was no drama.

We looked for properties in Waikuku Beach because we wanted to stay close to the ocean. It felt like fate when this section came up: a real project, right by the beach with a dilapidated shack on it. Max could fulfil his dream of designing and managing the build of our first home.

It took 6 months from concept to consent, and then just under one year to build. The whole process was thoroughly enjoyable.

Julia & Max's House, Designed by Max Warren Architect

We chose Waikuku Beach because of the lifestyle. We hang out at the beach, we surf, we garden, and Max has forever got a project on the go around the house. I’m treasurer of the local playgroup, and our tribe of local lady surfers is always ready for a Sunday surf.

On the weekends we enjoy staying around Waikuku because we love it so much. We also enjoy the bike trails and walks nearby, and love going up to Amberley for a pint and pizza at Brew Moon.

If you want to be active and do lots of things, but not be in the hustle and bustle of the city, North Canterbury is the perfect place.

Discover Julia’s business, Make It Raw, here

Make it Raw is a MADE NORTH CANTERBURY member. MADE NORTH CANTERBURY is our region’s provenance brand that certifies everything authentically grown, made, caught and reared in our region. Visit MADE NORTH CANTERBURY to learn more about our region’s bountiful food and beverage industry.

To learn more about setting up a business in North Canterbury, contact Miles Dalton, Business Support Manager.

To have your story featured on our website, contact Alissa Wilson.