Ngā Aho Whenua Weavers Residency Blog #2

Ko Matariki Ahunganui, poroaki ai rātou katoa kua huri tuarā, kua whetūrangitia.  Haere, haere, haere atu rā, tukuna kia rere.  Loved ones were farewelled this Matariki.  Toi Matarau and Māoriland acknowledges the passing of Nelly Carkeek.  The whānau and her enormous legacy of fine artists; Elaine Bevan, Tippy Bevan and Kapiki Fraser especially.  The Ngā Aho Whenua weaver’s residency is also a kaupapa that offers wrap around support from within Te Whare Pora.  A gentle space for weavers and those grieving to be surrounded by aroha. 

While Winter is well and truly here, it hasn’t stopped Pip and Sonia from venturing out on another harvest.  This time to Petone Beach to gather kuku shells.  Their field trip was topped off with a fabulous visit to Te Papa where they got to see the Kiribati Weavers in action demonstrating.

Sonia Snowden, photo credit Pip Devonshire (residency field trip to visit the Whare Pora collection and Surrealist exhibition at Te Papa)
Sonia Snowden, photo credit Pip Devonshire (residency field trip to visit the Whare Pora collection and Surrealist exhibition at Te Papa)

Awhirito continues to meet in preparation of the upcoming Te Roopū Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa Conference.  There’s still a lot of mahi to do, everyones chipping away with the planning.  There have been a few collectors visit Toi Matarau to purchase raranga from as far as Pare Hauraki.  As word reaches further afar about the residency, visitors  travel to meet and view the weaver’s at work.  The momentum is growing well leading into the conference which isn’t too far away now.  

The second wānanga for the residency hummed away nicely in the gallery.  A much needed three day gathering with a bit of respite for Pip, Sonia and local weavers to enjoy this precious time focussed on their weaving.

Then Matariki ki Kāpiti Lighting The Beacons launched.  As part of this new Māoriland festival, the Tiaho Mai Exhibition in collaboration with Jenna-Lea Philpott (Creative Kāpiti) and Teaho Pihama (Kiwibank Paraparaumu) opened July 9 after a COVID alert saw the original opening date postponed.  Karl Leonard gave an open and frank artist floor talk about the long hours and dedication it takes to weave fine taonga.  Some great messaging for buyers about what is invested into creations of Te Whare Pora.  Curated by Pip and Neke, the exhibition was well received as a first time experience in a mainstream space where Toi Matarau moved an exhibition offsite, another first.

Pip Devonshire
Tracey Patete
Karl Leonard

Tiaho Mai exhibition opening, Creative Kāpiti Gallery Kiwibank Paraparaumu, photo credit Bob Zuur. L-R: Pip Devonshire – Me He Pūngawerewere, Tracey Patete – Te Tōnga o Te Rā, Karl Leonard – Ko Whiro Koe?

To accommodate weekend visitors, an Artist Floor Talk was facilitated by Kaitiaki Toi, Maakarita Paku.  An informal group discussion with Pip, Kohai Grace and Tracey Morgan.  Despite the outpour of heavy rain, there were still a number of people who were brave enough to weather yuck conditions.  A worthwhile effort with rich kōrero that wove together a backstory of shared experiences and collaborations the three descendants of Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Toarangatira spoke to.

Another jam packed field trip supported by Libby Hakaraia (Māoriland Charitable Trust) and Carolyn Roberts-Thompson (Te Papa) enabled the Whare Pora to attend the internationally acclaimed exhibition The Surrealists.  What a trip that was to see works up so close in detail.  The day was completed with a tour of the Whare Pora in collections led by Moana Parata and Isaac Te Awa.

Hinepūororangi Tahupārae
Sonia Snowden Collection
Charlene Fraser

More photos from Tiaho Mai exhibition opening, Creative Kāpiti Gallery Kiwibank Paraparaumu, photo credit Bob Zuur. L-R: Hinepūororangi Tahupārae – Poi Piu, Kete Whiri, Poi Raupō, Sonia Snowden – Fine kete whakairo collection, Charlene Fraser – Taimana (below), Whakaata (above)

The first Muka Tangata Workshop by Azriel Ratu was enjoyed by a keen group of learners including Japanese midwife, Suzanne Hunt (Horowhenua Birthing Centre).  An initiative supported by the No. 8 Wire Project, Kāpiti Coast District Council. 

At the end of July, the exhibition Whiti Ora opened in the Toi Matarau Gallery.  Everyone has worked hard to complete works for both exhibitions .  It’s been awesome to see a wide range of amazing innovative skills coming out to the fore.

Another six months to go and so much more to create!