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Maori designers dominate at Fashion Awards

SEPTEMBER 5 2008 Embargoed until 10.30 Friday night

Maori designers dominate at Westfield Style Pasifika Fashion Award

Supreme Fashion Award Winner Influenced By Maori Battalion

Two Maori designers have collected the main accolades at this year’s Westfield Style Pasifika Fashion Award with the Supreme Winner inspired by the Maori Battalion.

The Awards were presented in front of an audience of thousands, by the Prime Minister the Rt Hon Helen Clark at the Vector Arena in Auckland tonight.

The TVNZ Supreme Winner, Kiri Nathan from Mt Wellington in Auckland, created a brilliant garment for the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Traditionally Inspired category

The twin influences of her grandfather in a photo in his Maori Battalion uniform, plus her absolute respect for the talents and creativity of a much loved grandmother from were strong forces in the creation of her award winning garment.

Created from organza, pure wool, feathers and cotton knit the designer interprets the colours of the Maori Battalion uniform creating a modern and elegant interpretation.

The garment is called Te Aria (deep pool in the river) after Kiri’s daughter.

A finalist of Westfield Style Pasifika in three previous years - winning a category and two highly commended - Kiri was also nominated as a finalist in Asia Pasifika and HERO this year.

The judges’ comments on the winning garments in this year’s Westfield Style Pasifika emphasis the exceptional standard and the passion, innovation and craft that shone through.

“It is rare today so see fashion made with such care love and integrity,” said one of the judges Francis Hooper from WORLD.

Explaining what drives her Kiri said: “My grandmother was a huge inspiration to everyone in our family she was a great seamstress and I used to watch and learn from her as she created wonder on her old Singer sewing machine.”
“The family adores her and every Friday we go to her house and it was during one of those visits I saw the photo of her and my grandfather in his uniform.”
Kiri’s grandmother, who is now 85, has five children, 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
The Runnerup to the TVNZ Supreme Award is Wayne Skipworth from Paki Paki on the outskirts of Hastings.
His brilliant work of art won the FLAVA Urban Streetwear category. An intricate garment carved in blue and white leather including matching boots. It is called Hinemoana (Maiden of the Sea). The calm tranquil waters are represented by the colour white, the kowhaiwhai (Maori carving) are the many different ocean currents that challenge us to go fishing for knowledge and understanding.

Westfield Style Pasifika has been staged for fifteen years in Auckland and has grown from a small community event into New Zealand's largest fashion award and an icon of the fashion and entertainment calendar. TVNZ films and broadcasts the show as a television special.

A unique fashion and entertainment spectacular that mixes fashion with music, culture and dance it celebrates the potent mix of South Pacific European and Asian cultures and influences that makeup this part of the world.

“To enter these awards takes inspiration and passion -
to win takes enthusiasm, hard work and total commitment -which clearly all of the winners have demonstrated this evening,” said Justin Lynch Westfield NZ Director.

“This event has evolved annually in the seven years Westfield has been associated as naming rights sponsor. Westfield continues to believe in Style Pacifica and acknowledge it remains an event that extends to a very wide community audience, which continues to grow.”

Director and Producer Stan Wolfgramm who is the mastermind behind the growth of the Fashion Award and the show and the move to the Vector Arena said: “This year has been a particular coming of age for Style Pasifika, and we are seriously looking at some offshore opportunities as the fashion is so innovative and of an international quality and deserves a global audience.”

“I believe the whole show is unique in the world with the very particularly indigenous influence.”


The ten categories in the Westfield Style Pasifika Fashion Award are MAC Pasifika Body Art; Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Traditionally Inspired; Resene Asia Pasifika; NZ Aids Foundation Pasifika Hero; Schwarzkopf Three Piece Collection; FLAVA Urban Street Wear; Barkers Menswear; Kohler Evening Wear; Pacific Blue Bridal Wear and Te Puni Kokiri Parent and Child.


Liz Mitchell, Francis Hooper WORLD, Tony Milich Sabatini, Des Rusk of Barkers and Pacific Advisor Mary Ama.


The TVNZ Supreme Award winner receives $3000 and two tickets on Pacific Blue to the Pacific Islands. Westfield New Zealand Runner Up receives $2000.

Each category winner receives $1000.

Vector Arena
Friday September 5
Tickets Available:

Further media information: Angela Griffen Mob 0275780889
Helen Goudge 021 222 9589


Traditionally Inspired
Winner: “Te Aria”
Kiri Nathan, Mt Wellington, Auckland

The twin influences of her grandfather in a photo in his Maori Battalion uniform, plus her absolute respect for the talents and creativity of a much loved grandmother from were strong forces in the creation of her award winning garment.

Created from organza, pure wool, feathers and cotton knit the designer interprets the colours of the Maori Battalion uniform creating a modern and elegant interpretation.

The garment is called Te Aria (deep pool in the river) after Kiri’s daughter.

Runner up:
Shona Tawhaio, Avondale, Auckland
Auckland weaver Shona Tawhaio, has sculpted a flax gown with a contemporary twist inspired by the ocean. Hundreds of pieces of flax collected locally have been hand stripped, dyed and assembled into a stunning garment, set off by a stunning “flax” red flower.

Asia Pasifika
Winner: “Te Puke Meets Thai Tribe”
Hazel Kirkham, Tauranga
A Bay of Plenty Polytech student, Kirkham was inspired by an image of a Thailand Hill Tribesman to create a wool/beaded hooded coat, over a dress representing New Zealand’s “kiwi fruit” culture.

Runner up: “Pohutukawa”
Mollie Barr & Tara Cunnifee, Mt Eden, Auckland
Both Barr and Cunnifee are final year students at Whitecliffe College of Arts and drew inspiration for their garment from the Pohutakawa tree. The Japanese art of origami is incorporated to represent the iconic tree’s flower.

3 Piece Collection
Winner: “Birds of a Feather”
Annah Stretton, Morrinsville
Well known New Zealand Designer Annah Stretton, has taken top honours in the 3 piece collection with her dynamic collection “Birds of a Feather”: kiwi birds infused with the vibrancy of pasifika colour. Each garment is made of hand dyed feathers sewn together and topped with feathered hats.

Runner Up: “Pearl Harbour 1941”
Corinne Te Whaata, Howick, Auckland
Te Whaata has looked to the defence of Pearl Harbour in 1941 in military style hats and jackets, combined with pasifika colour and flair.

Winner: “Venus – Live and in the Flesh”
James Leuii, Westmere, Auckland
Samoan designer, stylist and makeup artist has taken the feel of the Victorian missionary “white dress” and exaggerated it to suit the style of this flamboyant and fun loving category.

Runner Up: “My Durex Diva”
Candy Elsmore, Mt Albert, Auckland
This outrageous colourful garment uses condoms in hot tropical colours emblazoned on a full length gown of satin covered in crystals and beads.

Urban Streetwear
Wayne Skipworth, Hastings
Hastings wood carver Skipworth, has used his carving experience to create a sculpted feel in leather with a hip urban ensemble, including hoodie and carved boots.

Runner Up: “Daywater”
Maxine Woodridge & Kristin Leitch, Glen Innes, Auckland
Inspired by rock/punk music Woodridge and Leitch’s streetwise outfit also captures costuming themes evident in super-natural and fantasy movies.

Winner: “New Him”
Melany Yin, Avondale Auckland
23 year old Melany used geometry a the inspiration for this stylish men’s ensemble including metallic styled coat and topped off with revamp of the traditional “boater”

Runner Up: “I love NZ”
Michelle Smith, Wanganui
Smith has used the iconic “I Love NZ” logo and incorporated into a linen suit with asymmetrical shaping, giving an urban feel to the menswear section.

Rebecca Cassin, Nelson
A fashion student from Nelson, Cassin has used a repetitive tapa cloth motif as basis for this satin bridal gown, giving the garment a structured 3D shape.

Runner Up: “Family Ties”
Sarah Mules, Epsom, Auckland
Water colours used in traditional Japanese silk paintings inspired Mules, in an elegant gown that gives the impression of a waterfall pouring over the body.


Winner: “Pacific Princess
Stephanie Kohlhase & Michael Monaghan, Westmere, Auckland
Kohlhase worked with he father Michael, (a sheet metal shop owner) who created the original copper corset and bracelets worn with a beautiful gown of pure silk.

Runner Up: “Manaia”
Lisa Hansen, Christchurch
This elegant evening gown is based on a mythical bird-like figure, and has components representing the sky, earth and ocean incorporated into a show-stopping cocktail dress.

Parent and Child
Will & Tammy Isaaka, Manukau, Auckland

This wonderful ensemble is a fusion of two cultures. The adult representing Maori and the child, The Cook Islands.

Runner Up: Taku Wahine Purotu, Taku Tane purotu
Heather Skipworth, Hastings

Velvet is the predominate fabric in this stunning outfit for mother and son.


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