Kohai Grace - Fashioning Assembly Aotearoa

Kohai Grace, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Porou, Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Raukawa, is a master weaver. She describes her work as bringing together the old and the new, honouring the knowledge and skill of those who taught her the art of weaving and her teachers in the Māori Visual Arts programme at Massey University.

She sees weaving as a continually evolving art form with practitioners experimenting and inspiring each other to produce new works. Where once weaving skills were used to produce all manner of kākahu (clothing) today a woven garment is usually a highly prized piece imbued with significant aesthetic and symbolic meaning.

Image 1: Anahera Staples-Rei models the cloak upside down to show the taniko. Photo Himiona Grace. Image 2: Metapere Staples Rei models a cloak. Photo Himiona Grace.


Kohai shares the making of the kākahu, named Te Iti Kahurangi (The Most Treasured). Commissioned by the University of Otago it was two years in the making and was gifted the name drawn from the University’s whakataukī proverb ‘Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei: Seek the treasure you value most dearly; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain’. The kākahu is woven from muka (flax fibre) with a tāniko border at the hem while feathers from kiwi, kererū, tōroa, pūkeko, tūī, pheasant and kea adorn the top. The cloak will be worn at important ceremonial occasions, including student award ceremonies and Inaugural Professorial Lectures.



Fashioning Assembly Aotearoa was supported by the City Centre targeted rate. 

Global Fashioning Assembly 2022 was supported by the Creative Industries fund NL. 

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