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Matariki artworks

TAIRAWHITI artists had the chance last week to create a piece of work from their interpretation of Matariki.

Erena Koopu and other Toihoukura School of Maori Visual Art & Design tutors taught students and members of the public about the different aspects of Matariki.

The artists took what they wanted from the lessons and created artwork about it.

Te-Ara Hou Mihikotukutuku created an artpiece she named The Star House.

“I don't know where the stars are in the sky so I have just put stars throughout the whole thing,” she said.

The artists were able to use whatever materials they could find.

Te-Ara found different shapes of wood to use.

“I had a plan but when I started working it started to flow.”

“I used Tukutuku patterns because Matariki and the stars were used in the patterns. There are manaia heads throughout the painting because they are known to have one eye in this realm and one in the spirit realm.

“The meaning behind the work changes all the time. The stars in this represent the different universes out there. There are always different interpretations of Matariki,” Te-Ara said.

Erena Lunden knows her piece does not look like a star but is a form of a manaia that represents the Hiwa-i-te-rangi, which is associated with granting wishes and realising aspirations for the coming year.

“I decided to focus in on one particular star. Hiwa means to grow and for Maori we send our dreams and desires to Hiwa when the star rises,” Erena said.

Erena uses a liner brush because she enjoys doing line work.

“It is a part of my style.”

Mahaki Solomon did this last year so knew what to expect.

“I wanted to do something different from what I did last year. So I chose to go further and make it 3D.

There is a layer of wood on top of the canvas so the art pops out more.

“It is a type of kowhaiwhai and a manaia. It's a figure I use in my work.

“I used the Moon instead of stars because Maori use it (the Moon) to symbolise severing their bonds, but in my mind I use it as motivation.

“Even if you shoot for the stars, you can end up on the Moon. Always aim for the Moon,” Mahaki said.

All artists had one day to do this and had to use blue colours.

STAR HOUSE: Te-Ara Hou Mihikotukutuku painted her interpretation of Matariki and calls this work The Star House. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
STYLE: Mahaki Solomon (Right) took inspiration from the night sky and made his work 3D and Erena Lunden (left) focussed on the Hiwa o te rangi star. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell