Māori dresses inspired by Disney

By Taroi Black

A haka bodice fused with a tutu dress is on display at the Kohine Kollection launch in Whakatāne, incorporating kapa haka and Disney-inspired themes.

The Kohine Kollection will showcase three unique dresses- developed by Toiuru Māori Treasures- in red, purple and yellow at Te Wānanga o Awanuiarangi. 

Creators Moerangi Black and Matetu Herewini say the idea stemmed from their four year-old daughter who loves kapa haka and Disney characters.

“We watched our daughter constantly doing kapa haka and [who] loves watching her favourite Disney films Frozen, Cinderella and Beauty & the Beast.  We took that concept and mixed the two together.”

Black said they only get one opportunity a year to dress their daughter in a haka outfit for cultural events and thought the haka-inspired piece could find a place in her closet.  

“Tamariki don’t have access to dresses that includes a Māori design with a tutu dress.”   

“Kohine Kollection represents a young girl and the three pieces each have a name.  The yellow piece (Hine Ararau) represents the sun rays; the red piece (Hine Kurawaka) depicts the creation of wahine;  the purple piece (Hine Aio) recognises grace and tranquility.”

Te Matatini ki te Ao has already confirmed a spot for Black and Herewini to secure a stall at next year’s festival in Wellington. 

The kapa haka competition consists of 46 teams from around New Zealand and Australia and attracts around 80,000 people.

“We’ve already had orders come through from well-known Te Matatini performers such as Annette Wehi from Te Waka Huia, Tiare Teinakore from Te Iti Kahurangi and Anameka Paenga, who's one of my favourite leaders on the haka stage.”

Paenga says, “I can’t wait to give my daughter a Kōhine Kollection dress.  Toiuru Māori Treasures have already produced some beautiful pieces over the last few months and I love supporting Māori business.  You can’t think of a better present for your daughter than a dress from Kōhine Collection.”