Cooks heritage inspires woven art

Wednesday July 09, 2014 Written by Published in Culture
Weavings by Cook Islander Tuaine Bailey on display at the Auckland City Councils Nathan Homestead in Manurewa. 14070703 Weavings by Cook Islander Tuaine Bailey on display at the Auckland City Councils Nathan Homestead in Manurewa. 14070703

Cook Islander, Tuaine Bailey (nee Strickland) is currently showcasing her weaving at Auckland City Council’s Nathan Homestead in Manurewa as part of an exhibition of Maori Art for Matariki Celebrations.

The exhibition brings together a number of respected fibre and clay artists from the Auckland region.

The theme of the exhibition asked artists to make strong references to ancestral creative practices, with work looking back at the past as well as moving forward into the future.

Tuaine has three pieces on display, each using muka throughout the garment with further embellishments providing an added touch. 

Two of the pieces were especially designed for the Matariki commemorations with the stars of the seven sisters embodied in the work. 

One has seven diamonds representing the stars formed using mawhitiwhiti weaving patterns while the other has seven orange stars using embroidery techniques.

One of the korowai has a fringe of small shells given to her by her late mother, Mauariki and are used by Tuaine to add a touch of her Cook Islands’ heritage within her work.

The third piece displayed is one made a few years ago for her graduation.

Tuaine finds pleasure in using muka, the fine inner fibre of some flax plants.

While the extracting of muka is time consuming, the end product is exquisite and a timely reminder of two of New Zealand’s acknowledged famous weavers, the late Dame Rangimaria Hetet and her daughter Diggeress Te Kanawa.

Their work over many years contributed to a renaissance of korowai making in New Zealand.

The white muka is likened to the beautiful white rito used by Cook Islands’ weavers for the production of fine hats, fans and baskets.

The exhibition is supported by Toi Maori Aotearoa and the Auckland City Council’s Manurewa Local Board.

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