INSPIRED BY MY CULTURE
Ko Rangitane, Ngati Kahungunu te Iwi, Ko Manawatu Awa, Ko Ruahine Maunga, Ko Kurahaupo te Waka, Ko Makirkiri te Marae.
I have always loved to paint and my artworks reflect my love of colour, geometric design and my cultural heritage. I am of Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne and Pākehā descent. My Māori heritage was and remains important in my life and in my art. After leaving school I studied Contemporary Māori Design at Wellington Polytechnic. It was there that I was honoured to have my designs selected to decorate two frosted glass panels for the doors of the No1 Court in the new High Court building then being built in Wellington. They are still there today.
Meeting the man who would become my husband, and the subsequent arrival of my three beautiful children, meant that for long periods there was no time or space for my paint and brushes. However, I continued over the years to paint and take art classes when I could. Recently, with my children becoming independent, it has been a great privilege to have the time and space to return to painting.
I am passionate about the patterns of tukutuku which are the woven wall panels seen in whare tipuna, or meeting houses. My work is contemporary expression of negative-positive design elements of customary patterns evident in tukutuku (cross stitch weaving) and taniko (geometric weaving). Old or new, these patterns each convey different meanings, mythology and experiences. I have strong memories from my childhood of the tukutuku at the marae where my grandparents’ tangi (funeral) was held. It was an occasion where I had, perhaps for the first time, a strong sense of belonging and cultural identity.
“Some people see only generic geometrical shapes, I see them as patterns that shape part of our culture that tell a story from the Weavers of our tupuna”
12th - 28th October 2018 - The Little Sprouts Charity Art Event + Art Auction. Group show at Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand (Donation)
29th June 2018 - Aho Tapu O Matariki Exhibition. Group show, Kura Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
31 May 2018 - 4 June 2018 The NZ Art Show, TSB Arena, Wellington, 31 May 2018 - 4 June 2018
January 2018 - Cover illustration, Penguin Random House NZ, Maori Word A Day by Hemi Kelly
29th July 2017 - Mana Wahine Exhibition. Group show, Wellington, New Zealand
about Tukutuku and TĀniko
(The following is a description of the methods and materials used to produce tukutuku panels).
Traditionally tukutuku was made with harakeke, pingao and kiekie. They were prepared for tukutuku work in the following ways.
HARAKEKE: Common flax - This was soaked in hot water and then scraped with a shell.
PINGAO: This was washed and dried and then allowed to bleach naturally to a yellow colour. It was predominantly found in sand hills in the North Island.
KIEKIE: This was a preferred plant because it bleached whiter than flax. It was boiled then dried in the sun.
Dying of the flax and kiekie was carried out by placing the already scraped material into swamp mud — (paru), after it had been boiled with bark from the Hinau tree. It was left in the mud for a specified period of time. These materials were only gathered at certain times of the year and often came from other places.
Traditionally tukutuku panels were made from fern stalks and kakaho shafts, and in sometimes rimu or totara slats were also incorporated.
Today more durable and readily available materials are used as backing; and coloured rafia or leather are used in weaving. In Te Tumu Herenga Waka, flat slats, peg boards and leather are the materials that have been used.
TUKUTUKU PATTERNS IN THE WHARENUI
KAOKAO: This pattern was dedicated to the warrior who came under the protection of the war God, Tumatauenga. This pattern was also known as 'takapau wharanui' which was used on all important marriage mats of older times.
POUTAMA: Poutama (step-like pattern) has both religious and educational meanings. The steps symbolise levels of attainment and advancement. At one time, Poutama was the only pattern used in tukutuku.
PATIKITIKI: This pattern is likened to the flounder and portrays favourable times. It is a familiar pattern on kete, whariki, tatua and taniko.
PURAPURA WHETU: This relates to the peopling and population of a region. It is the feature pattern of Rangiatea Church in Otaki. The symbolism of this is that the church and the Christian faith would be "as many as the stars in number". There is a proverb which expresses this sentiment:
Tini te whetu, ko Ngati Maru kei raro."
WAEWAE PAAKURA or TAKITORU: This design came from the secret message sent by Rongomaituaho to Paikea, and Paikea having received the message in the form of three angled stitches, tied them the opposite way and sent them back. It means to communicate.
WAHARUA: This pattern is also known as whenua. It has symbolic connections with the land and goes back to early times when the umbilical cord was buried on the land.
ROIMATA TOROA: Tears of an albatross. This pattern denotes misadventure, particularly to crops.
NIHO TANIWHA or NIHONIHO: Which literally means - teeth of the taniwha. It is also the sign of the historian. In some instances, it represents the chief and hospitality. It represents also, family houses within a tribe.
MUMU (Whanganui): The people of Whanganui specialise in this design. It portrays alliance and intermarriage between senior families.
POROURANGI: A design introduced by Sir Apirana Ngata, representing the famous ancestor Porourangi of the Tairawhiti district.
TE TUMU HERENGA WAKA: This pattern depicts the name of the Wharenui; 'the tying post of the canoes'.
Tāniko is a uniquely Māori variation of whatu (twining) and is used to weave the colourful, intricate borders of cloaks. Learn about the process, purposes, and patterns of this extremely demanding technique.
Māori weavers developed tāniko by introducing coloured horizontal threads to the whatu twining technique. They worked out that they could combine full and half twists to bring one or another colour to the front. In this way, they could create intricate geometric patterns.
Tāniko is the most challenging of all Māori weaving techniques. The weaver usually creates the tāniko borders with the same vertical threads as a cloak’s main body, so she has to plan the entire garment before beginning to weave.
USES OF TĀNIKO
In cloak-making, tāniko is used only for borders since the weave is too stiff to suit entire garments.
Tāniko is also used to make pari (bodices), tīpare (headbands), tāpeka (sashes), tātua (belts), and taonga whakapaipai (jewellery).
TĀNIKO PATTERNS AND MEANINGS
Tāniko designs express histories, ideas, and values important in the Māori world.
Four major patterns feature in tāniko, and each has its own meaning. The meaning of many other designs has been lost.
WAHARUA KŌPITO: Waharua kōpito consists of vertically paired diamond shapes. The literal translation is ‘a point where people or events cross’. The pattern is a reminder that change occurs at such meeting points.
ARONUI: Like waharua kōpito, aronui (or aonui) are triangular patterns. The design refers to the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world.
ARAMOANA: Aramoana means ‘pathway of the sea’. The horizontal zigzags suggest pathways that the ocean and other waterways provide to many destinations.
TUKEMATA: Tukemata literally means ‘eyebrows’, but this design, with its notched zigzag patterns, has different meanings in different regions.