A 90-year-old Rotoiti-based weaver is having her first solo exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery this summer.

Matekino Lawless started weaving in her late 30s and is now the mentor and one of the biggest advocates for the legacy of raranga (weaving) traditions.

Opening on December 15, Whatu Manawa: Celebrating the Weaving of Matekino Lawless honours Lawless' dedication to the art and tradition of raranga (weaving), with its many decorative and utilitarian uses.

The exhibition features an exquisite selection of her signature works chosen from an impressive collection of kākahu, whāriki and kete created between the 1980s and today.


The detailed pieces are made from native New Zealand plants and treated with natural dyes such as paru, demonstrating her loyalty to the traditions of her craft.

"I attribute my knowledge of weaving to my kuia who nurtured me during my childhood," she said.

"They were a major contributing factor to the skills I have acquired, and I owe my approach to the art of weaving to their teachings."

Lawless has received international acknowledgement and national recognition through the Queens Service Medal (QSM) and Creative NZ: Te Waka Toi's Kingi Ihaka Art Award and Te Waka Toi Supreme Award, Te Tohu Aroha mo Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

Her work is held in personal collections in Aotearoa, Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Whatu Manawa: Celebrating the Weaving of Matekino Lawless opens at Tauranga Art Gallery on Saturday, December 15 at 10am and runs until March 10 2019.

For more information visit www.artgallery.org.nz.