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Ethnic communities to take part in cultural craft event

2 February 2015

Community project urges ethnic communities to take part in inaugural cultural craft event

An Auckland community project, which supports former refugees, is urging ethnic communities to share their traditional craft and arts with members of the public at a unique cultural event in March.

The W.I.S.E Collective has secured women from Burma, Congo, Ethiopia and Kurdistan to share traditional craftwork at the free Great W.I.S.E Cultural Craft Exchange event on 7 March at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson and is keen to have more ethnic communities present.

W.I.S.E Project coordinator Heather Tanguay said: “We really want more people from Asian communities such as Korea, China, Japan, India and Pakistan to take part. Japanese crocheting, for example, is very different from Indian crocheting.

“We would love to have some Māori and Pacific Island representation too. I have seem beautiful Samoan tapa cloths and amazing Māori weaving,” she said.

We want every ethnic group in Auckland to be represented at this event,” she said.

“This is a call to all ethnic communities. It’s open to all members of the public. It’s a community event.”

The inaugural event was spurred on by the W.I.S.E Collective’s own creative enterprise as the women crochet and sell handmade blankets, bags and brooches.

W.I.S.E Coordinator Heather Tanguay said: “At our W.I.S.E hubs in Massey and Mt Albert, at any given time we have women from five of six different cultures who do not speak English and do not know each other but through, craft, have all become wonderful friends. It doesn’t matter whether or not they speak the same language. They speak to each other through craft.”

Funded by the Henderson-Massey board, the Great W.I.S.E Cultural Craft Exchange takes place on the same weekend as the International Women’s Day, the theme of which is ‘Make It Happen’.

Regional communications manager Chinwe Akomah said this is particularly fitting as the purpose of W.I.S.E is to empower women.

She said: “Although the event is of course open to all and everyone, it is a great and fitting opportunity to highlight the continued push to elevate women in society in terms of ensuring that women are self-sustaining. This is why W.I.S.E exists – to empower, enterprise and inspire women. We intend to honour International Women’s Day at the Great Cultural Craft Exchange.”

Attendees and crafters can exchange gifts or if they wish to sell them, they can register for a stall for just $20. The event runs from 9am to 4pm. For more information contact Heather Tanguay on 09 818 8809.

About the W.I.S.E Collective
The W.I.S.E Collective (Women. Inspired. Strong. Empowered and Enterprising) is a project enabling former refugee women to support their families using their skills and talents. It is a joint project between Auckland Regional Migrant Services and Auckland Refugee Community Coalition.


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