A Rotorua teenager has the chance to exhibit with some of the best Māori fashion designers from around the country at the Tiki Āhua fashion show.

Rotorua Girls' High School head girl Te Ririu Williams, 18, says she is excited but it feels like it has not sunk in yet.

"On the night it will be pretty overwhelming because my work will be up with some top designers.

"It's been a lot of weekends taken away and time preparing."


She will be showing two accessories on the Tiki Āhua catwalk - a pākē, and a tātua attached to a maro.

Her accessories are made out of harakeke flax using the traditional art of raranga (weaving).

She says incorporating raranga into fashion and everyday life is a goal of hers.

"It's [raranga] definitely a passion of mine."

She says one day she would like to teach raranga to others so the traditional skills of her ancestors can be carried on and are not lost.

She has been doing raranga for about six years.

She says her fashion teacher at Rotorua Girls' High School was asked by Tiki Āhua if there were any students that could enter the Emerging Designer category.

Te Ririu says she has been trying to get her doorways open and getting connected with others, so Tiki Āhua will be a great opportunity to get some contacts.


She is looking forward to seeing her items on a model and on a runway.

Te Ririu says what she enjoys about design is creating and coming up with new ideas, and learning different techniques.

Te Puia sales and marketing general manager Kiri Atkinson-Crean says Tiki Āhua provides an important platform for both established and emerging designers, "showcasing the creativity of our people".

"It provides an opportunity to merge our traditional Māori arts and crafts - which we are mandated to preserve – with contemporary art, giving both the opportunity to shine.

"It is fantastic to be able to offer young designers the platform to showcase their works on the runway alongside those who have forged a career in fashion."

Kiri says Tiki Āhua allows the best of Māori arts, design and music to be shown, and that it is great to be able to support designers, both locally and further afield.

"We have a vision to eventually grow Tiki Āhua into a week-long festival pulling together emerging and established designers along with industry leaders, to collaborate across workshops, meetings and in retail and trade events."

The fashion show is on tomorrow night at Te Puia.

Tiki Āhua fuses contemporary fashion with traditional Māori arts for an evening of fashion, design, music and dance.

The runway event will be followed by a concert headlined by LAB, the band founded by the Kora brothers and featuring musicians from Katchafire.

For more information and tickets go to www.ticketmaster.com.