The very fi­bre of her be­ing

Mar­garet Bond has wo­ven the hon­orary cloaks for past cul­tural trea­sures, but with one at home, she just wants flow­ers. re­ports.

Marlborough Express - - NEWS -

When asked by her grand­daugh­ters why she was get­ting her pho­to­graph taken, Mar­garet Bond sim­ply replied, ‘‘be­cause I’m the best nana in the world’’.

Well, as it turns out, Bond will be re­ceiv­ing an­other pres­ti­gious award soon.

The lo­cal artist and weaver has been named Marl­bor­ough’s lat­est Liv­ing Cul­tural Trea­sure and will re­ceive her medal at the Marl­bor­ough Mu­seum, in Blen­heim, next week.

Hav­ing been widely ex­hib­ited both here and abroad, the Marl­bor­ough born-and-bred artist is a world-renowned weaver based at Omaka Marae, and is one of New Zealand’s most em­i­nent weavers and weav­ing teach­ers.

A prom­i­nent ‘el­der’ in the Ma¯ori com­mu­nity, Bond has been an in­flu­en­tial fig­ure and teacher of the craft.

She says she feels a re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep the art alive and well.

Her pas­sion for weav­ing started when tra­di­tional Ma¯ori weavers Emily Schus­ter and Dig­ger­ess Te Kanawa paid a visit to Omaka Marae 35 years ago.

‘‘They were con­cerned about the art dy­ing,’’ Bond says. ‘‘So they did a New Zealand-wide tour to teach other women. I was the cook here at the time, and just watch­ing them – they were tiny women but they were just mes­meris­ing to me.’’

Bond says she’s been weav­ing ever since. ‘‘It has a life of its own. Once you start [weav­ing] you can’t stop.’’

While Bond’s in­flu­ence on the com­mu­nity has been sig­nif­i­cant, she is a quiet hero who has tire­lessly given her time and en­ergy to oth­ers in her com­mu­nity.

‘‘When you’re weav­ing it’s not about you. My main rea­son for weav­ing is to en­sure the knowl­edge from the past is con­tin­ued into the fu­ture, and that means also look­ing at the ways we har­vest, and take care of, the fi­bres and flax.’’

Bond is also in­volved with con­ser­va­tion of harakeke flax on a lo­cal and na­tional level.

She con­tin­ues to play a ma­jor role in the restora­tion and preser­va­tion of Marl­bor­ough wet­lands at Para Swamp and Grove­town La­goon.

Bond recog­nises she is one of many in a liv­ing line of tra­di­tional Ma¯ori weavers go­ing back gen­er­a­tions, and her reg­u­lar weav­ing cour­ses at Omaka Marae for Te Wa¯nanga o Aotearoa have en­sured a younger gen­er­a­tion ben­e­fit from her skills.

‘‘I’m very proud of all my stu­dents who come through,’’ Bond says.

While the Marl­bor­ough

Liv­ing Cul­tural Trea­sure Award cel­e­brates ‘‘ex­tra­or­di­nary, in­spir­ing and sig­nif­i­cant in­di­vid­u­als’’, Bond says she is tak­ing it all in her stride. Though her fam­ily are very proud of the ac­knowl­edge­ment.

‘‘It’s still a big deal for me and my fam­ily,’’ Bond says. ‘‘Some form of ac­knowl­edge­ment is lovely.’’

Bond has wo­ven the ko­rowai, or cloaks, for past re­cip­i­ents, but doesn’t want one her­self.

‘‘I be­lieve it’s special for other peo­ple to re­ceive one,’’ Bond says. ‘‘And I al­ready have my own at home. This year, I just want flow­ers.’’

Bond says weav­ing is still about main­tain­ing that con­nec­tion to her fam­ily and com­mu­nity.

‘‘It has a mauri or a life-force,’’ Bond says. ‘‘When you’re weav­ing you think of your nana and your mum. Thank­fully my daugh­ter and grand­daugh­ter have shown an in­ter­est in weav­ing.’’

In con­junc­tion with the Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil and the Marl­bor­ough Mu­seum, the award seeks out in­di­vid­u­als who ‘‘pos­sess, to a very high de­gree, the knowl­edge and skills re­quired for per­form­ing or recre­at­ing spe­cific el­e­ments of liv­ing cul­tural her­itage’’.

The re­cip­i­ent, Bond be­ing the sev­enth, must also ‘‘en­rich the com­mu­nity with skills and knowl­edge in an ex­tra­or­di­nary and sig­nif­i­cant way over a life­time’’.

Marl­bor­ough Mayor John Leggett will present Bond with her medal and cer­tifi­cate.

Bond says she does not think things will change much for her, and it will be busi­ness as usual af­ter all the fuss.

‘‘My aim is to en­sure the knowl­edge is passed on and is in good hands.’’


Mar­garet Bond’s pas­sion for tra­di­tional weav­ing has seen her named the sev­enth Marl­bor­ough Liv­ing Cul­tural Trea­sure.

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