Of cloaks, capes and kete

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - RICHARD MAYS

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.’’

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/ FAIRFAX NZ

Ari Tipa-Emery, Leanne Wal­lace, Narelle Cribb, and Freda Reg­gers with some of their com­pleted weav­ing projects.

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