Ngāi Tūhoe fashion designer Nichola Te Kiri has launched a new line of fashion wear and accessories in time for Matariki, the Māori New Year.
She says the collection is based on Hiwa-i-te-rangi, one of the nine stars of Matariki.
“She’s the star that we send our hopes and aspirations to for the forthcoming year so I thought that’s really timely. We’ve come out of this period where it’s all been lockdown and a lot of change has happened and now it’s a time to wish and send out our hopes for the year coming.”
Te Kiri says the collection was inspired by the different narratives within te ao Māori and her own environment and personal journey.
She uses a variety of materials for her designs including bamboo, wood, perspex, bone, leather and sterling silver.
Te Kiri has used Māori names for some of the new designs in the collection.
“Those names I draw from the actual collection. So within this new one, Hiwa-i-te-rangi, I’ve classed some as just Matariki, some can be based around the other stars like Waitī, Waitā on the collection and what the story is being told in that product.”
In the weekend Te Kiri filmed a virtual fashion show in collaboration with Ngāti Tūwharetoa designer Mitchell Vincent.
“We decided that with lockdown, with there being no New Zealand Fashion Week, we needed to start being more creative in how we show our collections to our customer base.”
Kāhui Māori Fashion Collective China Hīkoi / Source: Damien Nikora
Both Te Kiri and Vincent are part of the Kāhui Fashion Collective, a group of Māori designers who went on a hikoi last year to Quanzhou, China to learn more about international fabric markets.
“It’s opened up doors and also shown that we have greater reach as a collective rather than individually. Kāhui is amazing. We’re a whānau and we support each other and we draw on each other for strength in networks and all sorts of different new things we want to explore.”
During their time in Quanzhou they visited one of the largest fabric markets in the world, says Te Kiri.
“It was actually eye-opening. It was really amazing to see so many things that we don’t have available in Aotearoa.”