Of cloaks, capes and kete
Lovingly crafted woven works fill the display space at Te Whatu Raranga o Highbury.
The 26-strong group, founded early last decade by Yvonne Marshall, not only contribute to preserving an ancient tradition, but create striking and practical items of clothing and accessories.
Two korowai (cloaks) and their feathered counterparts (kahu huruhuru) are destined to be worn at graduations.
One of them will be worn this week as year 8s from Te Kura Kaupapa o Ma¯ori Manawatu prepare to leave for high school. Others will be worn for upcoming graduations at Victoria and Canterbury Universities.
Tutor Ari Tipa-Emery explained the different types of harakeke and traditional techniques that are used to make rain-capes, kete, and tatua (belts), with flax harvested from Pit Park and from Feilding’s Kauwhata Marae.
‘‘It’s part of an amazing journey, finding out what our ancestors used to wear, and seeing [the craft] grow and everybody working together as one.’’
Marshall’s daughter Deborah Marshall-Lobb said the women were keeping the skills alive.
‘‘There are no needles or anything - it’s all done with the twist of the hand. They are very much a part of the revitalisation of this Maori art form. This whanau is a great resource for the wider community.’’
Ari Tipa-Emery, Leanne Wallace, Narelle Cribb, and Freda Reggers with some of their completed weaving projects.