Artists raise $12,000 for kōhanga

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Tāmoko artists from around the country have come together to raise $12,000 for a local Kōhanga Reo Te Pā Harakeke in Māngere Bridge that needs urgent repair work.

Organiser Hirini Katene (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rongomai) says, “The pūtea is going to the right cause and everything they get is also going to last them a lifetime as well like oh I got this piece for such and such, or for my nanny, and it was on a good kaupapa.”

Over 100 people arrived to be tattooed over the two-day workshop, helping the team to raise almost half the amount needed to fix a leaking roof in the napping room of the Kōhanga Reo.

Hirini Katene says, “Whanaungatanga I guess, that everyone has in general, everybody is all about manaakitanga especially when it comes to our tamariki we're always trying to put them first.”

Artist Te Kanawa Ngarotata (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Maniapoto) says, “I came because it's an awesome initiative, that's a significant and noble cause to help out the kids.”

Nine tattoo artists have come together to support the call put out by The Native Studios duo Hirini Katene and partner Tyler Jade, who are both board members at Te Pā Harakeke Kōhanga Reo in Māngere.

Katene says, “Different iwi, different styles, we were going to keep it just moko being Kōhanga, but a few people wanted to jump on-board so we got a Cook Islands on of our Cook Island boys, a Samoan, and we had Earnest who does a lot of Western stuff but he's Māori.”

Hirini Katene says the repairs will cost around $25,000 and they can't wait for the next funding round in October, so they're doing something about it.

“With this weather right now it's now we need to do it now or never really and we've already applied for funding but nothing has come of that so we just put matters into our own hands really,” says Katene.

Te Kanawa Ngarotata has been a practitioner for over 10 years. He says he's happy to contribute to the cause of cultural tattoos being given as permanent symbols of support.

“People aren't buying paintings, or art that's too expensive, the popular art of these times is moko,” says Ngarotata.

Hirini Katene says they will continue to fundraise until their reach their target.