Renowned Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa has been gifted a traditional korowai by Talia Adam which represents his strengths, his love for his family and his heritage.
Talia Adam (Ngāti Maniapoto) creator of Iron Sand Designs posted a photo to Facebook and wrote, “With the blessing of my whakapapa, my waka, my hapū, my iwi, my tupuna and my hands. I stand before you with the love, respect, and strength of our people. Thank you, my brother J for allowing me to create, through my gift of weaving, a Korowai that represents your strengths, your love for your family, your heritage… essentially everything that is you. It was my absolute honour and privilege.”
Adam's inspiration to weave this adornment for Momoa was based on his love for the All Blacks and the Māori world.
"I wanted to be able to give him a taonga from that cultural aspect. Something that connects him to his tupuna and ours. A bridging of cultures so to speak."
Adam adds that a korowai of this size usually takes about 1 -2 months, but time was of the essence, therefore, she sought assistance to get the ball rolling. She says, "I had a very limited amount of time to weave this Korowai. I called in reinforcements to help me sort and prep the feathers for weaving as that is a very time-consuming job. Once all the feathers were ready I got started weaving."
Adam pulled long hours, getting next to no sleep, with a start time of 8 am and finishing at 3 am the next morning. Her perseverance meant she was able to complete the korowai in just two weeks. She couldn't explain how she managed to create something so beautiful in such a short amount of time but says it was her tūpuna who guided her hands and gave her the strength she needed to get it done.
As a child, Adam would sit at the feet of her kuia Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa and watch them weave. Two years ago she followed their lead and took her first step into a world she later learned to love and at that point in time she had found something she loved and was good at.
She says, “I found I had a gift for it, a talent I didn’t know I possessed. But it’s in my blood. My nana was a weaver. That talent in my blood is not only from my nana, I whakapapa to Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa who I’ve always called Nana Rangimarie and Aunty Digger. I have profound memories of my childhood watching these three marvellous women weaving while I sat at their feet.”
Adam couldn’t put into words what it was like the moment she presented Momoa with the korowai but says he was blown away by her hard work and will forever be grateful for receiving such a precious taonga.