Te ao hurihuri (The changing world), tukutuku (woven wall panel), 2013, by James and Catherine Schuster, Te Rōpū Raranga

Kāhui Raranga: The art of tukutuku 

When:
Last days – closes 2 Nov 
Where:
Te Ihomatua, Level 4
Cost:
Free admission
Type:
Maori 

The exhibition of tukutuku panels at Te Papa Tongarewa has now closed.

The panels are being prepared for shipping overseas and in early 2015 will be installed in their new home - the refurbished United Nations Headquarters in New York. There, they will stand as a powerful statement of Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique cultural heritage and identity, alongside contributions from other member states.

These stunning works of fine art that were made by talented weavers from Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (National Collective of Māori Weavers in New Zealand), under the leadership of renowned weaver, Christina Wirihana.

The striking Māori tukutuku in this unique exhibition is a koha (gift) on behalf of the nation to the United Nations.

Tukutuku: woven worlds, united nations

Tukutuku are woven wall panels that decorate the walls of Māori whare tipuna (ancestral houses), telling stories of the people and land from which they came.

The 49 tukutuku in this exhibition were made by talented weavers from Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa National Weavers Organisation, in association with the Jack Lawless Whānau Trust, on commission to the New Zealand Government. Guiding the group was expert weaver and project manager Christina Hurihia Wirihana.

The panels will become part of New Zealand’s 1952 founding gift to the United Nations, the New Zealand Wall, which stands at the entrance to the General Assembly Hall. They will be seen by many thousands of visitors from all over the world – a powerful statement of Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique cultural heritage and identity.

Designs – tradition and innovation

The tukutuku for the United Nations represent customary designs, such as the poutama (stairway to the heavens) and niho taniwha (taniwha’s teeth). Others have been developed specifically for the new setting. They include the silver fern, the Anzac poppy, and – of course – the kiwi.

Find out about the materials, myths, and meanings behind these stunning works.  

He toi whakairo, he mana tangata.
Where there is artistic excellence, there is human dignity.

Whakataukī (proverb)

Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge all the participating weavers, those who supported them, and the many teachers who came before them.

Weavers

From north to south

Bay of Islands: Rita Baker
Auckland: Ann Uerata, Kelly King
Hamilton: Aroha Mitchell, Donna Campbell
Whakatāne: Glenda Hape
Kawerau: Geraldine Karekare, Jacqueline Tarei McRae, Mere Walker and rōpū (group)
Rotoiti: Christina Hurihia Wirihana, Gaylene Henry, Harata Black, Jim and Cathy Schuster, Matekino Lawless
Rotorua: Cathy Mohi, Diana Anderson, Edna Pahewa, Gaylene Woods, Hiro Grace, John Turi, Kathy Whetu, Lynnette Tamehana-Selwyn, Pauline Tangohau, Tangiwai Doctor, Tania Woods-Uluave, Tracey Emery, Tracey Robens, Walter Tangohau
Tolaga Bay: Claudette Collis, Fiona Collis
Gisborne: Ani Leach, Denise Te Hau, Elizabeth Kerekere, Te Rangi Kutia-Tataurangi, Toni Sadlier
Ōtaki: Elaine Bevan, Pip Devonshire, Sonia Snowdon
Kāpiti Coast: Tracey Huxford and rōpū (group)

Preparation of botanical materials

Ani Leach, Christina Hurihia Wirihana, Denise Te Hau, Gaylene Henry, Glenda Hape, Harata Black, Hone Bailey, Kelly King, Matekino Lawless, Ricky Bennett, Tangimoe Clay, Tina Osborne

Additional support

Ani Leach, Assistant Project Researcher; Jim and Cathy Schuster; John Turi; members of Ngāti Te Rangiunuora; Toihoukura Māori Visual Art and Design School, Eastern Institute of Technology, Tairāwhiti Campus, Gisborne

All tukutuku in the exhibition are on loan from the New Zealand Government, with the permission of the weavers of Te Rōpū Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (National Collective of Māori Weavers in New Zealand), represented by the Jack Lawless Whānau Trust.

Hero image caption: Te ao hurihuri (The changing world), tukutuku (woven wall panel), 2013, by James and Catherine Schuster, Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa National Weavers Association. Photograph © Craig Robertson, Full Frame Photography Ltd, courtesy of Te Puni Kōkiri

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