Matariki celebrations culminate with a Fulbright scholarship
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
Happy new year: Artist Bethany Edmunds is preparing to celebrate fashion, music and food later this month.