Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Scholarship awarded to Elam and Māori Studies student

Scholarship awarded to Elam and Māori Studies student to research tapa

A young woman with a passion for Māori taonga has been awarded the inaugural Sir Hugh Kawharu Scholarship at Auckland Museum to research the production practises and uses of tapa cloth in Aotearoa.

Nikau Hindin, of Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi descent is in her third-year of a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Auckland, where she is undertaking projects which employ indigenous traditional knowledge.

She recently returned from a year at the University of Hawai’i studying traditional arts. While there she learnt the practice of beating kapa – the Hawaiian term for tapa. “The process resonated with me and my teacher told me that Māori also made tapa cloth. It surprised me that I knew so little about its existence,” she says.

The first Māori arrivals had clothes fashioned from tapa made from the aute plant (paper mulberry), but it was too cold in most parts of the country for the species to thrive. Nikau plans to research aute including the climate it grew best in and the whakatauki or proverbs associated with it. As well as investigating the production of the cloth she hopes to locate stories about tapa/aute from kaumātua.

As part of her studio practice at Elam School of Fine Arts, she will also focus on recreating the traditional tools used by her ancestors to make tapa. To date she has produced a Māori tapa beaters, based on old ones, from pohutukawa wood, using toki or adze and pipi shells. Next she plans to make her own tapa using the bark from an aute tree growing at Waipapa Marae, at the University.

“When I first started my degree I attended classes taught by Dante Bonica in the Māori Studies Department. We examined the Auckland Museum’s collection of taonga tawhito, chose an artefact and recreated it using traditional methods. From this experience, my appreciation for the ingenuity and craftsmanship of our tupuna grew and ignited my desire to learn more about their material practices,” she says.

”We were very impressed by the obvious passion Nikau has for Māori heritage,” says Chanel Clarke, Auckland Museum’s Curator, Māori. “And we’re particularly pleased she intends to utilise the items in the Museum’s collections in new and interesting ways to further that passion.

“Nikau plans to share the knowledge gained during her research project with her peers, whanau and community. This is exactly the kind of leadership the Museum, and the Kawharu Foundation, were hoping to encourage as a result of this scholarship,” continues Chanel.

The $10,000 grant, available to a full-time student of Māori descent who has an interest in cultural heritage, is offered by the Kawharu Foundation in partnership with Auckland Museum.

In addition to the grant, Nikau will receive the benefit of an academic mentor from Auckland Museum for the duration of her studies.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news