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Hutt Valley Artist Neke Moa Wins Zonta Design Competition

27 March, 2014

Hutt Valley Artist Neke Moa Wins Zonta Design Competition

The Zonta Club of Wellington was delighted to meet Upper Hutt artist Neke Moa, winner of the Design Competition for a new Zonta Science Medal. The medal is very special, as it will be presented to the winner of the 13th biennial Zonta Science Award. This Award helps to further the career of an emerging women scientist who receives $15,000 as well as round-the-world- travel plus the medal.

Neke met informally with a group of Zontians for the unveiling of the “prototype” medal and to talk about her design. She was presented with her prize by Agnes Espineda, President, Zonta Club of Wellington who congratulated her on behalf of the Science Committee and the Club.

Neke talked the group through her design. She commented, “The design brief was straightforward. I did my research, looked at Maori Proverbs and found my inspiration from these. Quite often, I will use imagery ideas from Maori mythology, legends and stories in my jewellery.”

Dame Margaret Sparrow, Chair of the Zonta Science Committee asked Neke, “how did preparing and designing a medal for a scientist and a woman influence your thinking?” Neke replied, “Strong lines are symbolical of science which is questioning and about finding out. The elements of this medal are very strong, actually resembling a New Zealand war medal. It is made from nine carat gold, Kawakawa Pounamu (jade stone) and sterling silver.

“I enjoy the designs of the Edwardian and Victorian era too and have incorporated some of these elements. For example, I shaped the pounamu as a cameo with red notching a Pacific influence and added a touch of “bling”, cubic zirconia. The design is versatile and can be worn as a brooch or a pendant”.

Listening to Neke you could feel the passion for the “stone” oozing out of her. She went on to tell us, “I believe my connection to pounamu is through my ancestors and through my wairua. Being Kāi Tahu and growing up in Te Wai Pounamu, I feel an affinity to the whenua. I have been taught by a number of carvers and I have watched them work the stone, it is hard and intense work. Every year I try to go to Te Tai Poutini to collect and buy stone, visit friends and be amongst the environment, in the home of pounamu. It is an inspirational time with the people of the stone!”

Neke has a workshop in Upper Hutt and has exhibited widely. She has been part of the Handshake Project and has exhibited with them in both New Zealand, Australia and Germany. The “Handshake Project” involved twelve emerging New Zealand jewellers and twelve of their heroes from around the world.

She was a finalist in the Objective Arts Award held at Manukau Arts Centre and has just showed work at Quoil Gallery for Waitangi and will be part of the Kete, a craft and object symposium and exhibition at the Fine Arts Academy in Wellington. Throughout March this year, Neke’s work will be displayed at the International Jewellery Fair, ‘Schmuck’, in Munich, a part of the “Wunderama” contemporary New Zealand jewellery exhibition.

For Neke, her involvement contributes to her journey as a jeweller and she is confident pounamu will always have an integral place in the experimentation and development of her work.

On behalf of the Science Committee and the Zonta Club of Wellington Agnes Espineda thanked Lindsay Park for orchestrating this Medal Design Competition and for hosting the evening.

The Zonta Club of Wellington is part of an international service organization of executive and professional women which aims to advance the status of women.

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