Whanganui student Gienipha Tutaki will rub shoulders with the leading fashion designers in the country after being selected to present at New Zealand Fashion Week this month.

Ms Tutaki is a third-year bachelor of design and arts student, majoring in fashion design at Whanganui UCOL. She will be one of eight designers presenting at the Miromoda Showcase at New Zealand Fashion Week in late August.

Miromoda, the Indigenous Māori Fashion Apparel Board, aims to advance the standard and status of Māori fashion design.

Ms Tutaki gained selection for New Zealand Fashion Week by placing as a runner-up in the Miromoda Fashion Design Competition. There she presented to a panel of judges, including New Zealand Fashion Week founder Dame Pieter Stewart.


Ms Tutaki's collection is a contemporary mixture of the fashion of Whanganui Māori and European settlers from the late 19th century.

"It started off with one garment, but I really loved the idea so I worked it into a collection with the earthy tones, blacks, whites, and sepias. This was because a lot of the photos I was inspired by were taken in the late 1800s. Those colours just spoke to me," Ms Tutaki said.

Her collection consists of six full outfits, and is trans-seasonal with multiple layers which can be taken off and put on to suit the conditions.

"They are really good as winter pieces as well as summer pieces because they are really light, delicate fabrics."

Ms Tutaki said she's excited about having her collection on the runway. She hopes the experience can open some doors to help her go further in the industry.

"They're giving you a platform and you've got to use it to the best of your ability. I guess I'll see what happens and then go from there."

Ms Tutaki also made it to the second round of judging for this year's World of Wearable Arts competition, with a piece that combined traditional Māori flax-weaving with modern techniques and materials.