Topics: Arts, Business, Education

New exhibition at Te Puia Ahua Gallery celebrates weaving

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A new exhibition in Rotorua was opened at Te Puia the NZ Māori Arts and Crafts Institute which celebrates the Legacy of weaving and weavers. He Hekenga nō ngā Tūpuna features works from a new collective of weavers called Te Kōtuku Rerenga Rangi who are based in the Bay of Plenty. This exhibition is a tribute to all weavers who have maintained and continued the tradition of weaving. John Turi-Tiakitai, spokesperson of the event says “it was Emily Schuster that began the house of weaving here and at that time a lot of tribes were wanting her to teach them weaving”.

The exhibition has work from past students of the late Emily Schuster and even men. Matekino Lawless who is 90 years old and is classed as a master weaver loves the fact that a new generation is taking on the art form. “At my age I like to think that, that's it's been wonderful that we are still able to make these pieces and of course I like to think that we are doing this for the next generation to come and that it's not going to be lost. This piece in the exhibition has adopted the weaving style of the Siletz Tribes of Oregon. Bud Lane who is an international weaver of the Siletz Tribes of Oregon has travelled here in support of maintaining indigenous weaving.

“We share a lot in common, so we feel a strong companionship and share identities as indigenous peoples with all the Māori tribes here in Aotearoa”. Tina Wirihana another well-known weaver in the Waiariki region says “over the year's weavers have actually gone be on the shores and Emily Schuster was at the forefront of all of that particularly on the north west coast down California of America, so for us to be continuing on her legacy that she opened up with people like Te Aue Davis, Cath Brown and many others”. The exhibition is being shown for the first time at Te Puia Ahua Gallery, Rotorua.