1 Apr 2011

Tonga tapa maker in new Auckland univeristy university programme

2:22 pm on 1 April 2011

A Tongan tapa maker wants to raise awareness, preserve and pass on the traditional craft to younger generations.

The Oto'ota Fahina Society is the first group to take up a new Pacific Heritage Artist residence programme at the University of Auckland.

The programme, run by the Centre of Pacific Studies, aims to highlight cultural traditional arts from the Pacific over a month.

Artist Lolohea Tupouniua says she's excited to have been selected to present Tonga's traditional art of ngatu, or tapu, to a new generation.

"Not only it is from the olden days, but people who don't work, they can make tapa, and they can sell them, and not only that, it is very impt to every occasion like marriage, birthdays and deaths. For Tongans, if you dont have tapa, then you not count, that you are Tongan."

Lolohea Tupouniua

Niuean weaving and Samoan tattooing will also feature under the programme later this year.