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Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa. mourned

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa mourns passing of Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa.

31 o Hōngongoi, 2009


Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Chief Executive Bentham Ohia today joined with leaders from throughout the country in marking the passing of much loved and respected Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Kinohaku kuia, Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa.

Mr Ohia said Diggeress Te Kanawa was a much respected foundation tutor at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, who had committed her life to the protection, preservation, reclamation and advancement of Mātauranga Māori in mahi harakeke and its associated elements.

“Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa was one of the first Kaiako to teach raranga at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and has continued to support the Wānanga over the years by providing guidance and her expertise to both staff and students.”

Mr Ohia said Mrs Diggeress Te Kanawa embodied the humility, aroha and commitment of an almost lost generation.

“We have been blessed to have the shared in the gifts of Diggeress Te Kanawa, and we share in the deep sadness felt by her whānau at this time, said Mr Ohia.

Diggeress is renowned at local, regional, national and international level as a Tohunga Raranga, Master Weaver, and in her eighties continued to receive recognition and awards at all levels.  Her work is exhibited and held in collections in Europe and New Zealand and one of her last korowai was completed for Te Arikinui Kīngi Tuheitia

Diggeress Te Kanawa was the inaugural recipient of the He Kura Waka o Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Award, awarded in 2008.

The award acknowledged the immense work of Diggeress Te Kanawa within the Maniapoto region and to the people of New Zealand in her commitment to the protection, preservation, reclamation and advancement of Mātauranga Māori in mahi harakeke and its associated elements.

“As one of the first Kaiako of the raranga programmes for TWoA, the dissemination of her knowledge continues in TWoA today.  This has been attributed to the set up of a weaving academy in Waitomo, by her late mother and family, where TWoA enjoyed the benefits of her continual mentoring of staff and tauira of TWoA.”

Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa raised twelve children, during her lifetime of commitment to the art of weaving, and this continues on through the generations of her whānau and hapū. 

In 1983 Diggeress co-founded the Aotearoa Moananui-a-Kiwa Weavers Association in response to calls for a renaissance of the art form in New Zealand and the Pacific.  In 1988 she was awarded the Air New Zealand Travel Award and visited museums in England, America and the Bishop Museum in Hawai’i.  Following this in 1992, she authored Weaving a Kākahu – the formal expression of a life committed to weaving.

In 1999 Diggeress completed a collection of korowai made for her children – each on reflecting the different personalities of her children.  The collection is held in trust at the Waikato Museum and has been exhibited in New Zealand and internationally.

Diggeress’ work has been included in exhibitions such as Te Amokura o Te Māori (1986), Rotorua National Hui (1990), Te Waka Toi: Contemporary Art from New Zealand (1992), Te Pā Harakeke, Waikato Museum, and Te Aho Mutunga Kore which has toured the United States.

In 2001 Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand awarded the Sir Kingi Ihaka Award to Diggeress for her contribution for Māori art.  In 2004 the Waikato Museum of Art and History was the venue for Te Aho Tapu – the Sacred Thread which includes works by Diggeress.

In 2005 the city of Hamilton launched Nga Uri o Hinetūparimaunga, the magnificent sculpture standing at the gateway to the Hamilton gardens, crafted by Christ Booth and conceptualised by Diggeress.  The sculpture incorporates columns of stone protected by Te Kahu O Papatūānuku, a pebble stone cloak woven in three different ancient patterns used predominantly by Diggeress in her works.

With her daughter Kahutoi, Diggeress is the holder of the elite Toi Iho registered mark of quality and authenticity awarded to artists for their production and promotion of Māori art.

Nō reira, e te kete whakairo o te mātauranga, e te tukutuku o Te Wharepora o Hineteiwaiwa tēnei ka ongeonge. Kua ūwhia koe e te paepaeroa o Aituā, nō te rangi nei ko koe tana tāniko. E moe i te takapau o te nui, e moe, okioki atu.


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