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Waitara women weave cloak for Soroptimists

Aroha out of adversity – Waitara women weave cloak for Soroptimists

Out of adversity has come aroha – a group of Waitara women will present a special Korowai or Maori cloak to Soroptimist New Zealand at a conference in Wellington at Easter.

The Korowai was started by a group of Waitara women following the police shooting of Steven Wallace in 2000. Soroptimist South West Pacific President Elaine Moffat says the cloak is a symbol of love and hope.

“One of our members unfortunately witnessed the shooting from her home and was very aware of the negative focus on the town that followed.

“She got together a group of women in the town to talk about doing something to help make Waitara seem like a more positive place. They decided they wanted to create a gift of love that could be shared throughout New Zealand. The cloak is that gift.”

The cloak has taken the women, led by Whero Bailey, more than 30,000 hours over three years to make, using thousands of strands of flax and putangitangi duck, pukeko, weka and albatross feathers. Elaine has had a sneak preview of the finished product and says it is “stunning”.

“We are so thrilled to have been chosen as the recipients of this wonderful taonga. It will be much treasured and the aroha of those women of Taranaki will be shared, not just with the women of New Zealand, but around the world when I will take it with me to the Soroptimist International Board meeting in London in July.”

Soroptimist International is a service organisation for women that has 92,000 members in 124 different countries around the world.

More than 250 women from all over the South Pacific region are expected to attend the Soroptimist International South West Pacific 14th Biennial Conference with the theme ‘Strength and Diversity’ being held in Wellington over Easter.

Mary Wareham, a former Wellingtonian now at the forefront of international efforts to eradicate landmines, will give the keynote address at the conference. Other speakers include Former Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin and MP Winnie Laban.

Another highlight of the conference will be a presentation to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary of a thermometer designed to take algal bloom readings in the sanctuary lake. more…

The Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright will open the conference, which is being held at the Duxton Hotel.

Media are welcome to attend the presentation of the cloak at the opening ceremony of the conference at 8.45am Friday 9 April in the Ballroom of the Duxton Hotel.

Media are also welcome to attend the presentation of the thermometer to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary at the Sanctuary at 3pm on Saturday 10 April.

© Scoop Media

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