Kakahu Handover to the UN

Kia ora whanau,

I hope you are all well, keeping warm and taking care over the long weekend – its a cool one today.

I have been a bit behind in keeping you updated and informed of what’s been happening this year so I’m using this weekend to catch up on a few of the events and program’s that have been taking place this year which I’ve been involved in or witnessed.

Today I’m dedicating this article to my close friends Toni Sadlier, Erin Rauna & Tina Wirihana one of our amazing Weaving mentors who currently teaches at Toihoukura. Tina has helped awhi (support and encourage) us on our own journeys over the past few years as well as kindly introducing us to opportunity’s within the Weaving sector like this one.

Tina was approached by the United Nations Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who she has worked with on projects prior to this one, who were looking for a ceremonial Korowai (cloak) made from local weavers of the area pertaining to patterns, korero and designs of the East Coast region. Such an important taonga not only for the UN but also for this area as well as Weavers alike. The cloaks purpose is for visiting dignitaries to lend for formal occasions.

Weavers Erin & Toni gladly took on this project with the guidance of Tina Wirihana and created this beautiful Korowai which was challenging yet rewarding. The artists, both recent graduates, were both studying at EIT Tairawhiti’s Toihoukura school of Maori Visual Art & Design School when the opportunity to be involved was presented to them.

Erin, formally a traditionalist when it came to Weaving never thought she would make a Korowai made of contemporary materials which this garment was made of – Taaniko – Silk thread and mop string which was one of the requirements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – it gave Erin another outlook on using contemporary materials once this project had commenced.

Toni, who works in both contemporary and traditional designed Weaving enjoyed the challenge of learning new techniques – like shaping the garment to fit the body nicely through an intricate stitching bind called the ‘Poka’ traditionally used in some Korowai garments.

A small powhiri ceremony was held at Toihoukura in Maia Gallery, where the students and staff supported the kaupapa for Toni and Erin to hand over their beautiful creation to the Ministry Senior Policy Analyst, Ngawini Keelan by cloaking her with it. Meanwhile a waiata from the East Coast region was sung to guide it safely on its journey to its new home. I wish it a long & prosperous life like I do you all.

Ka mau te wehi Wahine Toa! Love uz xox

Nga mihi
Lee 🙂

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