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Hawke’s Bay November 2013 Newsletter


NEXT MEETING: All welcome

Date:      Friday 6th December              Picture1

Time:      7.30pm

Where:  Hastings District    Council  Chambers, Lyndon Rd.

Join us for a fun and friendship evening to celebrate the end of the year and the Christmas season. We are planning to show a short cultural DVD.


Last Meeting:

Awhina Tamarapa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Pikiao) is curator, textiles, weaving and Māori instruments at Te Papa. We were privileged to share Awhina’s personal and very informative story of the origin and importance of weaving and cloaks in Te Ao Maori (the Maori world).  She edited the definitive text Whatu Kaakahu: Maori Cloaks, which notes that,  ‘Weaving is more than just a product of manual skills. From the simple rourou (food basket) to the prestigious kahukiwi (kiwi feather cloak), weaving is endowed with the very essence of the spiritual values of Mäori people. The first Mäori settlers brought the knowledge of weaving with them. In Aotearoa they found new plant materials, including the versatile harakeke (New Zealand flax). They also incorporated feathers from birds and the skin and hair of their dogs. They wove practical items necessary for everyday life. But they also wove exceptional items such as fine mats and wall panels and, above all, kakahu (cloaks) of immense significance, which bestow mana (prestige) on both weaver and wearer.’

Awhina told us that the fifth Maori King Karoki (1933-66) at the Turangawaewae in Ngaruawahia used the gifting of cloaks to cement alliances and it was in this tradition that he sent a cloak with Ramai Hayward and NZCFS to present to Mao Tze Tung in Beijing in 1957. The film we screened Inside Red China 1957 showed this event. Awhina was part of the New Zealand delegation that received this cloak from the National Museum of China (NMC) in Beijing for loan and display at Te Papa in Wellington from June to October 2013. She noted that the NMC has a collection of over one million items and is the largest museum in the world.

Kia ora ano Awhina mo tou korero i a matou

John Chen wearing Awhina’s graduation cloak woven by her grandmother.
John Chen wearing Awhina’s graduation cloak woven by her grandmother.
Awhina with a kooauau (wooden flute)
Awhina with a kooauau (wooden flute)