This week marks 20 years since the passing of a prominent weaver of Te Arawa who has opened doors for many weavers around the country. Her name was Emily Rangitiria Schuster and her work is now been displayed in the Te Puia Tourism art gallery in Rotorua.
Her son Jim Schuster says, “This moment is very emotional for me to see our mother’s work displayed. This is a pilot to launch our upcoming national convention for weavers from around NZ. That event will take place at Te Waiiti Marae in Rotoiti in October. It's where our mother lies as well.”
Schuster's work spans over 60 years, helping to establish Te Whare Rārānga (weaving school), an initiative run by New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in 1969. Expanding her work throughout New Zealand until her passing in 1997.
“That year people mourned the passing of Princess Diana and Mother Teres and. Te Arawa felt the same about our mother.”
Today's collection consists of cloaks, kete and taniko. One of the pieces she reconstructed is a kiwi cloak that's 200 years old.
“A museum in Tauranga is already asking for us to hold an exhibition of her work there after this one.”
The exhibition in memory of Schuster will be displayed for the next two months.