Matariki cel­e­bra­tions cul­mi­nate with a Ful­bright schol­ar­ship

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

A cel­e­bra­tion of high fash­ion, mu­sic and po­etry will shine this month as artist Bethany Ed­munds pre­pares to cel­e­brate Matariki.

The 26-year-old has pre­vi­ously or­gan­ised events for the Maori New Year and will this year be be­hind E Whitu Nga Whetu – Maori for The Seven Stars.

The June 28 event will in­clude a show­case of con­tem­po­rary Maori fash­ion, food, drink and live en­ter­tain­ment.

And it may be some time be­fore Bethany is in­volved in or­gan­is­ing an­other event for Matariki.

She is mov­ing to the United States in Au­gust to com­plete her masters de­gree at New York Univer­sity.

Bethany, of Ngati Kuri de­scent, is a re­cip­i­ent of the Manaaki Taonga grant to study­ing the con­ser­va­tion of tra­di­tional tex­tiles such as ko­rowai cloaks.

She has also been awarded an AMP schol­ar­ship as well as a Ful­bright study schol­ar­ship.

“I am one of two pre­mium win­ners out of 800 ap­pli­cants,” says Bethany.

“They have awarded me $40,000 which is awe­some.”

In New York Bethany will take up spe­cial­ist stud­ies in tex­tile art and con­ser­va­tion at the Stein­hardt School of ed­u­ca­tion and arts pro­fes­sions within NYU.

Even­tu­ally she hopes to de­velop links be­tween New Zealand and other in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions that house ko­rowai.

In 2000 she learned to con­struct ko­rowai cloaks from a re­spected author­ity on the sub­ject, the late Nikki Lawrence.

While ex­hibit­ing in Europe last year she saw ko­rowai housed at Cam­bridge Mu­seum and says she is look­ing for­ward to find­ing out if there are any in the United States.

She is also learn­ing other in­dige­nous tex­tiles and the pro­cesses in­volved in their cre­ation.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence of com­plet­ing my first ko­rowai was very hum­bling be­cause of the es­teem that such a taonga is held un­der,” says Bethany.

“It was a huge priv­i­lege for me to be of­fered the op­por­tu­nity, and re­quired a lot of dis­ci­pline to com­plete.”

E Whitu Nga Whetu will be a show­case of con­tem­po­rary Maori cre­ativ­ity and is sup­ported by the K’Road Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and Auck­land City Coun­cil as part of the month long Matariki fes­ti­val, which be­gan yes­ter­day.

K’Road Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion man­ager Bar­bara Hol­loway is en­thu­si­as­tic about sup­port­ing young artists like Bethany, who live and work on K Rd.

“Karanga­hape Rd has a very long his­tory.

“It was used as a travel and trade route long be­fore Euro­peans ar­rived,” she says.

“It’s a is pow­er­ful link we want to fos­ter and a great show­case for K Rd where mu­sic, art and work is cel­e­brated.”

E Whitu Nga Whetu will be held at Hopetoun Al­pha, Beres­ford Square, on June 28 at 7.30pm.

– Carly Tawhiao is an AUT jour­nal­ism stu­dent

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Happy new year: Artist Bethany Ed­munds is pre­par­ing to cel­e­brate fash­ion, mu­sic and food later this month.

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