28 May 2022

Dr Rangi Te Kanawa: working to conserve our taonga kakahu

From Saturday Morning, 9:40 am on 28 May 2022

As a child Rangi Te Kanawa was surrounded by weaving. Both her mother, Diggeress Te Kanawa, and grandmother, Dame Rangimārie Hetet, were lauded Māori weavers. Te Kanawa's formative experiences immersed in the world of harakeke are undoubtedly what led to her current work as a textile conservator and researcher.

Of particular interest to Te Kanawa are customary Māori clothing dyes, which involved using an iron-tannate dyeing process that saw textiles submerged in iron-rich mud to instil a geographically distinct black colour. However, this process made the fibres more brittle, and these precious kākahu are now starting to perish.