Indigenous Runway Project kicks off today

New Plymouth is set to host the Indigenous Runway Project this afternoon. 

The pōhiri for this special event will be held at midday at Owae Marae in Waitara, where designers from across the country will be formally welcomed.

Established in 2012, the event that celebrates and showcases indigenous fashion designers has made it's way to New Zealand for the very first time. 

Founder, Tina Waru says it's an event where "kindred cultures come together to blend fashion, with culture and tradition; providing opportunities for Indigenous people.”

Not only will eager Māori designers have the opportunity to showcase their work in front of an audience, but girls from the age of 17 will also have the opportunity to join the project and learn the systems of a fashion show, from modelling, to behind the scenes work with make-up, hair, styling and even stage management.

Tina relocated to Australia as a psychologist 15 years ago where she worked with Aboriginal people.

Tina's mother, Airihi Waru says “This Runway Project is one of the creations to come out of her (psychology) mahi, she created that to assist with the Aboriginal people she was working with at the time.”

“I think it’s a great initiative, it’s for our rangatahi - to get our rangatahi in fashion itself.  We do have a lot of rangatahi who are very keen in modelling and designing.  There’s never been a market for Māori, and it’s something that’s never seen before for indigenous people.” Tina adds.

Models will get the chance to hit the runway this Saturday July 18 at Theatre Royal in Taranaki.

For more information on the Indigenous Runway Project, you can visit their official website here. 

You can also find out more on their Facebook page.