Kiri Nathan Launches Te Ahuru Mowai, A Creative Community Haven

By Eva Wilson
Niri Nathan. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas, 2018

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.

Te Ahuru Mowai workshop. Photo / Eva Wilson
Te Ahuru Mowai workshop. Photo / Eva Wilson

“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.”

Kiri Nathan designs on display. Photo / Eva Wilson
Kiri Nathan designs on display. Photo / Eva Wilson

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.”

Te Aahuru Moowai retail space / Eva Wilson
Te Aahuru Moowai retail space / Eva Wilson

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.

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