Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


League Partners with Museum for Major Exhibition

19 June 2014

League Partners with Museum for Major Exhibition

In the early 1950s, the Maori Women’s Welfare League became concerned the traditional art of Maori weaving was at risk of being lost, or dying out completely.

A plea was made from the League’s executive arm to its regions, and the Maniapoto Branch based in Te Kuiti, heeded the call.

In particular, founding League members Dame Rangimarie Hetet, her daughter Dr Diggeress Te Kanawa, Rora Pakititi (MBE) Hine Tuheke and Miriama Tahi who have all since passed held frequent weaving classes in their respective homes and initiated what is now a wellknown and respected legacy.

Sixty years later, the art of traditional and contemporary Maori weaving is very much alive and well, with more than a 1000 known weavers, some of who will also be acknowledged and celebrated in an upcoming exhibition entitled E Nga Uri Whakatupu at the Waikato Museum.

The exhibition’s title is in fact the name of a waiata (song) composed by Dr Rangimarie Hetet that talks about the call for rangatahi (young people) to value and practice traditional knowledge.

Her daughter, Dr Diggeress Te Kanawa went on to become a founding member of the weaving group Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, alongside her close friend, the late Emily Schuster of Rotorua, whose work will also feature in the exhibition.

Diggeress’s daughter, Kahu Te Kanawa, a weaver artist and academic currently holds the Deputy Chair’s position of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa. Another daughter, Rangituatahi is a textile conservator at Te Papa.

With the Hetet –Te Kanawa Collection making up the core of the exhibition, it draws from it being the largest private collection of Maori textiles, from five generations of one family, in the world. Since 1998, the collection has been held under a Kaitiaki arrangement with the Waikato Museum, and includes over 75 items.

Although Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Dr Diggeress Te Kanawa’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, it’s the inclusion of a korowai, by Te Rongopamamao, Dr Rangimarie Hetet’s mother, that is likely to draw special acclaim. Te Rongopamamao took part in the recently recognized Battle of Orakau.

In a newspaper interview in the mid 1960s, Dame Rangimarie Hetet credited the League’s call as the catalyst to producing a number of works for which she earned accolades, an honorary doctorate and title of Dame in the British honours system. She died in 1995, aged 103, and lies next to her late husband Tuheka Hetet who served in WW1.

Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Dr Diggeress Te Kanawa always credited their renewed interest in weaving when they joined the Maori Women’s Welfare League in 1951. From a 1970 newspaper article, Rangimarie is quoted as saying, “I used to watch my mother when I was little, but I was never really interested. I knew how to weave and make things but I didn’t want to then."

Likewise, her daughter, Diggeress Te Kanawa, an avid League member and weaving artist, was given an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato and made an inaugural NZ Living Icon Award recipient in 2003. After her passing in 2009, the NZ Arts Foundation passed the icon on to acclaimed filmmaker, Sir Peter Jackson who has kindly lent it to the Waikato Museum for inclusion in the exhibition.

At the time of his presentation from former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, Sir Peter Jackson was made aware the icon had been previously held by Mrs Te Kanawa and admitted he researched her work and was delighted to know the icon had its former life on a mantelpiece in the Te Kanawa household.

While Sir Peter Jackson is unable to confirm attending the opening, he has signaled his commitment to view the E Nga Uri Whakatupu exhibition.

The Waikato Museum and Te Ropu Wahine Maori Toko i te Ora partnership is likely to see League members from different parts of the country involved in exhibition guides, and potentially co hosting events.

There is also an opportunity for the E Nga Uri Whakatupu exhibition to show at another national venue, and an international tour has not been ruled out.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news