Jenny Siaosi talented photographer and founder of Kapiti Weddings the online directory for all things 'wedding related' on the Kapiti Coast.
- Interview with Tony Cutting
Jenny (Walter) was born in Wellington but her early years consisted of experiences around the globe. Mum 'Berys' was a teacher and Dad a 'Public Servant' both her parents are now retired . She has a sister Helen and brother Steven they both work in the Public Service sector. As a young family they travelled a lot.
"My very first primary school was Apia Primary in Samoa, my teacher there was very scary. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember trying to hide under my bed and avoid going to school on several occasions (tip: that doesn’t work)."
"I then went to Kelburn School in Wellington, before we moved to Paris where I was plonked (at age 10), into a french school, ‘École élémentaire publique Longchamp’. I remember my brother coming home the first day and putting his school bag in the rubbish bin. Pretty much that sums it up. Though it did get better…"
Outside of primary school Jenny was involved in swimming and while in France, Dance.
"Back then swimming had been compulsory in NZ schools, and I learnt to swim. In France, I looked liked a champion swimmer, because the standard of teaching was comparatively so much better in NZ. So I trained further and started competing (quite successfully) I Loved it."
"I also took up dance, as in ballet, because you know, we were in France."
Jenny attended Lycée Janson de Sailly (in Paris).
"It was a very large school, strict and very traditional, we were called by our last names, we stood up whenever a teacher entered the classroom, the hours were loooong. In the winter you’d be walking home in the dark."
Jenny continued with her swimming and dancing at secondary school although another change was coming. The family moved to london, Jenny was fourteen. "my world had been flipped up side down. I went to Holland Park School. Also very large, and completely out of control, the students ruled the roost at that time, there were a lot of bullies. It was also scary but for very different reasons. I met a couple of great people, and eventually loved living in London."
Back to New Zealand
"The last school I went to was Onslow College, back in Wellington. For year 13 (7th form). I thought Wellington was a ghost town, and just wanted to go back to London."
At first Jenny decided she wanted to go back to London. Tried to earn a living but found it hard with no real qualifications and little work experience. She was back home in Wellington within the year.
After a few years working in retail Jenny decided to study Design, then changed to Visual Arts travelling around while studying. She spent time in Whanganui, Nelson then back to Porirua where she finished her training while at Whitireia polytechnic.
"Whitireia was where I met Mel Phillips, (amazing man) he was my photography tutor (he later went on to start The Photo School in Raumati) and though I didn’t quite realise it at the time, he became one of the biggest influences and inspirations for later in life. He’s never stopped encouraging me."
"While living in Titahi Bay, I also met another fairly big influence on my life, who I eventually got to marry. Joe Siaosi."
So what did you do after Polytech?
"After mucking around quite a bit and wandering through the harsh landscape of wanting to be an artist, I eventually settled on bringing the arts to those living on the fringes of society and made that my career for the following ten or so years, also had child number one (Levi), and finished a Post Grad Diploma in teaching."
"When Levi was about six we moved to Paekakariki, and it was there I decided to set up my own photography business. Weddings was it. The perfect blank canvas for me to be creative with, continue working with people and give them
something that becomes more priceless with time. I could also earn a living and have enough flexibility to be mum."
"We moved back to Wellington city and I opened up an actual studio with my then business partner, had a great run for a few years, met wonderful people in the photographic community, found out there is a lot more to running a business than just being good at the service you offer. The learning doesn’t stop, and that is another part of working for myself that I love."
"After being told it was highly unlikely (without serious intervention) for us to have any other children, and making peace with that fact, I became pregnant at age 42 (thanks a lot destiny). In denial for most of the pregnancy, I continued working and of course, hit a wall. For the first year after Tyler was born I was mostly depressed. But with the support of my very patient and understanding husband and son came through the other side."
Siaosi Photography is born
Jenny then decided to start again with Siaosi Photography. "I now had control over EVERYTHING (except the baby). It was bliss"
The entreprenuerial spirit kicks in
Jenny explains it very well...
"Fast forward four years and a ton of learning along the way, I have weddingswairarapa.co.nz (which I bought and re-vamped) and started up kapitiweddings.co.nz with a vision to helping smaller, local businesses with their online presence, and putting both those locations on the map for being awesome places to have a wedding celebration."
A home in Waikanae Beach
"The opportunity to purchase my parent’s old bach came up. It’s the house which has been the only constant in my life since ages ago, and Joe and I were married there."
"So here we are in Waikanae Beach for the next stretch of life. I have one kid about to leave school and one about to start school, and I get to see the ocean every day."
Jenny has been a great member and contributor to Kapiti Now, She attends many of our meetings and is always keen to help others. I personally wish her all the best and recommend to any businesses that want to tap into the Wedding market to join up to her online groups . This lady knows what she is doing, Jenny will provide you with first class information and it will be a great marketing investment for you.