Māori fashion designer Kiri Nathan (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Hau) has launched Te Āhuru Mōwai in a celebration attended by hundreds, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Kīngi Tūheitia. The space will house the brand’s collections alongside the Kāhui Collective and other community projects led out by Kiri.
“Kei te hikaka māua ko Jason ki te whakatūwhera i Te Āhuru Mōwai, Jason and I are so excited to open Te Āhuru Mōwai. We now have a home to run the Kāhui Mentorship Programme from as well as workshops and events.”
Located in Kiri's home area of Glen Innes in East Auckland, Te Āhuru Mōwai (meaning shelter or safe haven) is a place from where she hopes to support Māori designers to realise their aspirations by utilising the sample room, photo suite and office space.
“One of the most exciting things is being able to push out sustainable enterprise initiatives through the local schools and eventually into fashion programmes in tertiary institutes throughout Aotearoa.”
Young Māmā are a specific group that Nathan hopes to connect with offering training and hiring local wāhine to carry out feather preparation and weaving, and allowing Māmā to work around the needs of their whānau.
“I know as a young solo mother in Glen Innes back in the 90s, I would have really appreciated this kind of opportunity.”
Nathan’s designs have gathered a high-profile audience, with designs worn by Barack and Michelle Obama, and the Duchess of Sussex. Recently Jacinda wore kākahu created by Nathan to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Head to Glen Innes to take a look at the kākahu and taonga on offer in the new operations whare, located across from the train station.