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Inaugural national Maaori weaving exhibition

23 November 2016

Artist Ruth Port with her weaving titled He Kakahu o Papatuanuku.2

Image: Artist Ruth Port with her weaving, titled He Kakahu o Papatuanuku. Photo credit: Mark Lapwood. 

The blend of traditional and contemporary artworks featured in Waikato Museum’s upcoming exhibition Ngaa Hua o te Rito: Fruits from Fibre pay homage to the materials and techniques used for centuries by Maaori weavers.

The exhibition is the inaugural showcase of work by members of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, the national collective which produces and preserves traditional Maaori weaving. Ngaa Hua o te Rito, a Waikato-based weaving group, has worked alongside Waikato Museum to create the exhibition.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says it is a privilege to host this celebration of an iconic expression of Maaori culture.

“The exhibition combines ancient practice with 21st-century artistry,” she says. “The taonga on display are exquisite works in their own right, and also a touching tribute to the technical ability and resourcefulness of the weavers’ tuupuna (ancestors).”

More than 20 artists, from all over New Zealand and representing many iwi as well as paakeha and other communities, have had pieces selected to be exhibited.

The creations include kete, garments, jewellery and sculpture which have been derived from a diverse range of native flora, such as flax, seaweed, pingao and kuta.

Exhibiting weaver and Ngaa Hua o te Rito committee member Ruth Port says the exhibition has been two years in the making.

“I am thrilled to be part of the exhibition and grateful to the weavers who have created such strikingly beautiful art pieces for this inaugural event. I also wish to acknowledge Waikato Museum for all their assistance to help create a truly exceptional and unique exhibition.”

Ngaa Hua o te Rito: Fruits from Fibre runs from 17 December to 2 April 2017.