Maori fashion finds a natural fit in Hawkes Bay


Hawke's Bay is shaping up to be the new home of Maori fashion as well as the self-proclaimed capital of Maori music, following a spectacular showing of traditional and contemporary garments at the Te Koanga Fashion Show last night.

A total of 17 designers from Hawke's Bay, Auckland and Otaki presented more than 80 garments at the show, which was held as part of the two-day National Waiata Maori Music Awards at the Hawke's Bay Opera House.

Hastings contemporary weaver Kui Tomoana opened the show with an eye-catching collection of garments featuring flax work in gold, brown and fluorescent pink and green colours.

Three other designers made their Hawke's Bay debut including Ana Hau and Raewyn Tumaki from Auckland, and Tutina Pasene from Otaki.

Hawke's Bay designers Maakarita Paku, Christina Rhodes, Marlene Greaves, Lena Kuru and the students from EIT Hawke's Bay's Certificate in Fashion Apparel programme also showed.

Te Koanga was co-ordinated by Duane Wichman-Evans from Auckland, who has been involved in producing Style Pasifika and the inaugural New Zealand Bridal Fashion Show in Auckland.

He had been in Hawke's Bay over the past week preparing the production and training models, some of which experienced their first taste of the catwalk in front of a live audience last night.

"They have come along very well and our hope is we can establish a level for next year as we want to look into the possibility of setting up a model talent search contest.

"We'd like to hold a competition where we can go around to malls, set up a runway and get aspiring models to walk for us with the aim of getting the best to work at next year's show."

Model co-ordinator Heather Te Au said it was an exciting opportunity for the first-time models to work with Ruby Higgins, a former New Zealand's Next Top Model contestant, and Miss Aotearoa Angela Cudd who were guest models.

Organisers of Te Koanga hope it can offer Maori fashion designers a pathway into other shows such as the annual Miromoda fashion awards show in Wellington.

Miromoda was set up to promote Maori fashion designers, and finalists go on to showcase their work at New Zealand Fashion Week.

Tonight the red carpet rolls out for the finalists, performers and guests attending the National Waiata Maori Music Awards ceremony at the Hawke's Bay Opera House Theatre.

See fashion feature in Saturday's 48 Hours.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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