A grandmother and grandson collaboration for Papakura exhibition

Master weaver Te Kura Rua and her grandson Neihana Lowe have collaborated for the exhibition titled Whenua I.
Nigel Moffiet

Master weaver Te Kura Rua and her grandson Neihana Lowe have collaborated for the exhibition titled Whenua I.

A grandmother and her grandson are exploring family history through photography and weaving.

Papakura Art Gallery is hosting the exhibition, titled Whenua I, put together by master weaver Te Kura Rua and her grandson Neihana Lowe. 

The show is part of a special Matariki theme during a time for "whanau to come together to share skills and knowledge". 

Lowe, 18, travelled to Te Urewera, the home of his Tuhoe iwi ancestors, and took a series of photos capturing the misty landscape of the area's Matahi Valley. 

Driving through the area gave him a sense of where he's from which is portrayed in his visual work, he says. 

"I'm just beginning that journey to find out who I am." 

Lowe, who was born and raised in Papakura, is part Maori and part European and the two cultures play into his art, he says. 

The landscape photos are also designed to capture the beauty of the area as a warning not to "invade its resources" to the point we will "no longer recognise it for what it is". 

Lowe is also a category winner of the 2017 Maoriland Film Festival for his short film, titled Warning, which is a satire about unsustainable packaging.

It's his first exhibition at the Papakura gallery but he hopes to have more work on display as he learns about his culture, he says. 

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Meanwhile, Rua's flax woven kete, or baskets, represent the 12 wives of the Maori prophet Rua Kenana. 

Her grandmother, Meri Te Waiarangi, was the 11th wife of Kenana

Rua's been weaving for 20 years and says the craft gets her involved in many community initiatives.

"Neihana came to me and said, 'Nan, can you weave the kete?'

"They [the woven baskets] represent lineage and genealogy and the sustainability of mother earth."

Rua says her work is inspired by nature and family and the baskets, made from locally resourced harakeke (flax) plant, are like "footprints" that have been left behind, she says.

The free exhibition is in its last week and runs until Saturday, July 22 at the Papakura Art Gallery, 10 Averill Street.

 - Stuff

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