Te Whare Pora

(The Weaving House/School)

Te Whare Pora is a series of individual portraits of women from the South Pacific who weave. Each portrait is hand woven using a pattern derived from the ancestral home of the photographed weaver; Aotearoa, Niue, Papa New Guinea and Samoa. My intention is to show that Pacific women and our weaves are taonga (cultural treasures). Each portrait is diamond shaped, echoing the Maori kete (basket) commencement that is woven diagonally (with sinistrals and dextrals, rather than the horizontal European technique).

I have attempted to photograph and create these portraits in the spirit of Te Whare Pora; a state of being or raised level of consciousness and openness while weaving that is affectionately know as “getting your weave on”. The sense of repetition, continuation and customary cultural practice evident in the production of these woven photographs reflects my own attempt to create a bridge of knowledge and connectedness between generations.

Ngā tīpuna ki mua,

Ko tātou kei muri.

The ancestors in front,

We are behind.[1]

[1] Ihimaera, W (ed.) (1998), Growing up Māori, Tandem Press, Auckland, New Zealand, p. 5