July 19, 2016
Trio weave links through canoes and culture
Three Wellington-based artists head for Seattle today to take part in the annual canoe journey of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.
Ihaia and Marissa Puketapu and Waikarere Gregory are representing Maori arts organisation Toi Maori Aotearoa in what has become a regular exchange.
Mr Puketapu says the paddling isn’t hard because of stability of the canoes and the lightness of the yellow cedar paddles, which leaves energy for sharing the arts in camp each evening.
"They have some native timber over there – the yellow cedar is like carving butter. They have a lot of traditional weaving and embroidery similar to taniko – they call it raven's tail. They really like our taa moko designs. We get a lot of vivid pens and spend hours drawing taa moko designs on the kids’ arms," he says.
Mr Puketapu says the annual event is a way for first nations people to reconnect with their culture, and many of those on it have faced similar life challenges as Maori experience.
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