Weavers create taonga
It has been a labour of love for the weavers involved in Mahara Gallery's exhibition Toi Tu, Toi Matanui, Toi te Kupu (Art standing proudly, Art out in the open).
The exhibition comprises carvings and woven work by students, tutors and associate artists of Toi Whakarakai, the design and art school of Otaki's Te Wananga o Raukawa.
The exhibition also goes beyond the gallery as senior students have spent the last four weeks involved in Te Papa's Live Weaver's studio, part of its Kahu Ora Living Cloaks exhibition.
Toi Whakarakai tutor Pip Devonshire said the school has a relationship with Te Papa and often takes students to see archived cloaks, capes and weaving.
Weaving is more than a piece of art for Otaki student Amiria Carkeek.
She has spent the past six months working on a hieke for her daughter, which is on display at Mahara Gallery.
The cloak uses four different colours symbolising fire, earth, water and air.
"When I first started creating it, [the theme] was 'the goddess within, brings out the feminine'," she said.
"It's [called] He Paoho, He Oriori kite Ao Marama, it's 'the rhythm of life' in English.
Carkeek used the harakeke from her late nana's garden. She also used shredded harakeke from her aunty's garden, and incorporated harakeke muka from her best friend.
Carkeek will wear the cloak at her graduation this year then give it to her 9-year-old daughter.
"When I created this, I knew it's for my baby to give down to her baby, to her baby, so it's a family taonga."
Family was a common theme for Toi Whakarakai student and Paraparaumu weaver Leisa Williams.
She started weaving 12 years ago but wanted to learn more about the traditional aspects including ancestors, so she enrolled in at Toi Whakarakai.
"This year I wanted to get stuck into it a bit more, in depth, not just the weaving but also the iwi, hapu and te reo as well."
Toi Tu, Toi Matanui, Toi te Kupu, which runs until October 14 at Mahara, presents a range of capes, cloaks, kete whakairo (patterned baskets) and whariki (mat), Devonshire said.
The exhibition also showcases works by guest artists including acclaimed weaver Sonia Snowden who has several kete whakairo (patterned basket) on display.
Toi Whakarakai's senior weavers will also take part in a demonstration at Mahara Gallery during the school holidays, October 11 to 13, 11am till 2pm.
- Kapiti Observer