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Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa

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Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa, CNZM QSO

Ngāti Maniapoto

The daughter of renowned weaver Dame Rangimārie Hetet, Diggeress Te Kanawa was named by her father, Tūheka Taonui Hetet, in honour of the trench diggers of the Pioneer Battalion in World War One, of which he was part. Home schooled by her mother, Te Kanawa had made her first piece of weaving by the age of 12. She worked closely with Hetet to revitalise the traditional arts of weaving, which in the 1950s were in danger of dying out. 

Te Kanawa was a founding member of Aotearoa Moananui a Kiwa, the first national Māori and Pacific weavers’ organisation and travelled extensively to research cloaks in overseas museums and to pass on her skills and knowledge. 

Te Kanawa received many awards in recognition of her craft, including Ngā Tohu a Kingi Ihaka Award (2001), Te Tohu Tiketike o Te Waka Toi – the premier award for a lifetime commitment to Māori weaving (2006) and an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University (2007).

In this excerpt from a Waka Huia profile of Diggeress Te Kanawa, she talks about, and demonstrates, her craft.

Find out more about Diggeress Te Kanawa:

Read The Arts Foundation Diggeress Te Kanawa profile.

Visit Te Papa collections online to learn more about Diggeress Te Kanawa.

Image: Screengrab, Waka Huia – Diggeress Te Kanawa, courtesy of TVNZ.

Catalogue Reference TZP229015

Year 2000

Credits

Director / Presenter / Reporter: Tini Molyneux

Excerpt: 0:03:18

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