Porirua tani­wha weaves spell

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By BERNIE GRIF­FIN

Weaver Ko­hai Grace is cre­at­ing the Porirua tani­wha to go on dis­play at Porirua Aquatic Cen­tre on Wai­tangi Day.

It is the first time any­one has at­tempted such an ex­hibit, which will be part of the Wai­tangi Day Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments at Te Rau­paraha Park.

Fes­ti­val man­ager Mar­garet Ar­mour said the theme for next month’s fes­ti­val was wa­ter and the tani­wha ex­hibit fit­ted the pro­file per­fectly.

‘‘The tani­wha is a won­der­ful story and is be­ing told in this highly de­mand­ing artis­tic form by one of the world’s great weavers, who her­self comes from the very area we’re talk­ing about,’’ Ar­mour said.

‘‘What could be bet­ter than that?’’

Grace col­lected bush plant kiekie , and washed and stripped and sun-dried for the weav­ing.

She is work­ing from her stu­dio in Hon­goeka Bay, Plim­mer­ton, over­look­ing the wa­ters where the story of the tani­wha is set.

‘‘I have been asked to weave Awarua, the tani­wha, which is re­ally nice be­cause I love the story,’’ she said.

‘‘ Com­ing up with ideas stretches the imag­i­na­tion and chal­lenges my cre­ative mind.

‘‘I have cho­sen to in­cor­po­rate ‘niho tani­wha’ into the work.

‘‘It is a tra­di­tional weav­ing pat­tern that rep­re­sents sto­ry­telling, myths and leg­ends, and the art of or­a­tory.

‘‘Niho means teeth, so the teeth of the tani­wha are pre­sented as tri­an­gles – in this case blue tri­an­gles – that may also be used to de­pict the wa­ters.’’

The tani­wha, Te Awarua o Porirua, de­scribed as the re­gion’s old­est story, is said to have roamed Porirua Har­bour hun­dreds of years ago, be­fore any hu­man foot­prints ap­peared on the mud­flats.

Part of the story is that Awarua was be­ing taught to fly by Rereroa the al­ba­tross, didn’t get enough height then crashed on to Mana Is­land and flat­tened it.

No great harm seemed to have been done by the in­ci­dent, but Awarua hasn’t been seen in re­cent times.

How­ever, the tani­wha will rise again to be vis­i­ble in wo­ven cre­ation above the wa­ters at the Porirua Aquatic Cen­tre on Wai­tangi Day.

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