Art created by expert artists specifically for Awhina House has been unveiled ahead of the opening of Tauranga's first women's homeless shelter.

On Sunday a majority of the 12 artists involved in the project met at the shelter to celebrate the completion of their creative projects for the house.

The artists who contributed were Elliot Mason, Maraea Timutimu, Helen MacDuff, Kereama Taepa, Tawhai Rickard, Nick Eggleston, Michelle Estall, Linda Munn, Debbie Tipuna, Bridget Reweti, Que Bidois, and Te Marunui Hotene.

Each room in the shelter is named after a native bird and the expert artists got to choose a bird to incorporate into their artwork in a medium of their choice.

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A small plaque about the work would be hung near to the artwork, along with an encouraging note to the women who would stay in the house.

Artists and friends of Awhina House gathered to celebrate the unveiling, including (left to right) Nick Eggleston, Patricia Sharp, Helen MacDuff, Vanessa Kururangi, Tai Taikato, Colleen Spiro, Malia Soifua Pearson, Rachel Hatch, Marcia Taikato, Que Bidois, Tawhai Rickard, Tania Lewis-Rickard and Angela Wallace. Photo / George Novak
Artists and friends of Awhina House gathered to celebrate the unveiling, including (left to right) Nick Eggleston, Patricia Sharp, Helen MacDuff, Vanessa Kururangi, Tai Taikato, Colleen Spiro, Malia Soifua Pearson, Rachel Hatch, Marcia Taikato, Que Bidois, Tawhai Rickard, Tania Lewis-Rickard and Angela Wallace. Photo / George Novak

He Kaupapa Kotahitanga Trust chairperson Tania Lewis-Rickard said the kaupapa behind the artworks is "ka rere ana - taking flight".

"The work is to support the women in their own journey as they strive to be free from their situation of having nowhere to sleep, no accommodation or housing," she said.

"With support and encouragement, they will be able to rise above their situations while their wellbeing is being restored."

Lewis-Rickard said funding was being sought to be able to give a koha to the artists for their resources and time in making original work specifically for Awhina House.

Awhina House general manager Angela Wallace said the unveiling of the artwork was a "big symbolic moment" for the shelter.

Ngāti Porou artist Tawhai Rickard created a woodwork sculpture of a kahu (hawk) out of repurposed materials, such as wood and brass, as his contribution.

"The hawk is a personal guardian to me," he said.

The beige figure was delicately painted with a Bible verse and small female figures designed in "Ngāti Porou-style figurative painting" stood under the wings of the kahu.

A mother and daughter duo, named Lady Wharekore and Hine Wharekore represented the generational aspect of poverty and homeless, he said.

But these small figures, dressed in korowai (Māori cloaks), stood under the wings of the bird, symbolising the protective nature of the kahu.

This included how those who stayed at Awhina House would be cared for and protected.