Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Meet the People - 12

Another in the Series Meet the People – Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things – Tania Davis (Mokai Patea), owns Ake Aotearoa a colourful gallery of Maori art and crafts in Taihape, in the central North Island with her husband, Mitch Davis and her sister-in-law, Trish Hesketh (above right), who is married to Tania’s brother, Opae Steedman. The four set Ake up in August 2006 as a showcase for local weavers, artists and designers. Tania (above left) was born and bred in Taihape. She’s an iwi representative on Ngati Whitikopeka Runanga and loves promoting matauranga (knowledge/understanding) of Maori art. “We talk about that a lot with visitors who come in here and people love that,” Tania says. “It’s all about showcasing Maori art in a positive environment.Ake Aotearoa stocks the work of Maori artists from throughout New Zealand, including the Ihi Aotearoa clothing brand, owned by Tania’s nephew, Phil Butler in Palmerston North.

Winiata Marae, Taihape. April 2009. Ajr
Tania’s home marae is Winiata Marae, which is located three kilometres south of Taihape on SH1. It’s always been an active marae that has hosted and supported a wide range of whanau, community, educational and political events. The Wharetupuna Tautahi (above) was erected and completed in 1896 by Tania’s great-great-grandfather, Winiata Te Whaaro, who commissioned Pakeha, William Willoughby to actually build it. In honour of that, it is Willoughby’s head and bust that sits on the apex as tekoteko. Carved sunflowers are depicted on the amo to represent both Pakeha and Maori. Ngati Paki, Ngati Whitikopeka and Ngati Tamakopiri are the hapu groups within Mokai Patea of the Taihape area. www.akeaotearoa.co.nz

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