Kaitiakitanga; Guardianship

Work by Marama Ngawhika and Leona Vercoe

Date: Dec 3 – Jan 12Space: Mezzanine

Marama Ngawhika: Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Awa, Te Arawa,  Ngapuhi.

Marama grew up in Edgecumbe, Kawerau and Pukehina three small towns in the Bay of Plenty New Zealand. Her mother is of Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Awa descent while her father affiliates to Te Arawa and Nga Puhi.   Marama grew up in a large family and has two children of her own.  Te Kohanga Reo (Te Reo Maori Language nest) is a predominant feature in her life and she enjoys working with and including the Kohanga Reo tamariki (children) and Whanau (families) in exhibitions so that they can exhibit their artwork and more importantly share their culture with the world.

Marama enjoys creating fibre art as well as painting with acrylics on canvas/board. The Kaitiakitanga exhibition showcases artworks that feature Maori symbolism and motifs.  They are a visual story telling tool and allows the viewer to engage with her Maori language and culture.

Leona Vercoe : Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou

Leona is a whangai to Ritakaniwhai and Taiahu Maere (her nan and nannypa). She was brought up in Bridge Pa Hastings but born in Gore Invercargill. Leona and her whanau travelled back and forth from the south to the north island.

Leona sees her biological whanau often and attends whanau events so her three beautiful children know both their whanau sides.

Leona is married and lives in beautiful Flaxmere. She spent 17 years in the kaupapa of Kohanga Reo, and her tamariki have gone through kohanga reo and kura kaupapa. This is where it all started – although strength and knowledge has changed Leona from a shy person of no words, always hiding, seen but not heard. It has been the journey through Kohanga Reo that has made her stand up for what she believes in and follow her dreams;

‘I started working with huruhuru (feathers) and all textures of fabric in 2012 making contemporary Korowai for the kohanga mokopuna. I discovered that the bright colors were liked by the whanau, then later on I started sewing and incorporating different colors and designs, onto durable fabric. This lasts longer once stored away from the environment.’ 

Leona wants to share her experiences and encourage anybody to discover their talent through art.

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