Matariki at Te Awa - The Base
It is always an honour to be asked to create special flax pieces for your special occasions, and Matariki is no different. As an artist, each piece I create takes a little bit of my soul with it, and crafting them is a deeply personal process- it’s so much more than just making pretty flowers!
So when I was approached by Te Awa (The Base) to make a flax inspired display to sit on their customer service desk for the month of Matariki I was so excited to get creating. I love the creative challenge of these projects, and the chance to sink my teeth into something different.
Matariki is a joyous celebration of renewal and reflection that brings whanau together to mark the Māori New Year. It’s a time to honour those who have come before us and give thanks for the abundance of the autumn harvest, by pausing the hard work of filling the pātakapātaka (food stores) for the winter ahead, for gatherings of whānau and friends with fireside storytelling and music.
About the piece
For this arrangement I really wanted to include the rising of the constellation itself, so I have used a large flax flower frond to represent the night sky. I have hand painted this metallic black and brushed a metallic blue over it, to represent the moonlight highlighting the sky just before dawn- when the Matariki star cluster is best seen.
The seven stars are made with flax and authentic Hapene Flax, shining bright in silver and iridescent aqua, one for Matariki and one each for her six daughters: Tupu-ā-Nuku, Tupu-ā-Rangi, Waipunarangi, the twins Waitī and Waitā, and Ururangi. (Each daughter has their own stories and legends with lessons for us to remember, which are shared at Matariki gatherings. You can read more here.)
The koru in the arrangement represent growth, renewal and new beginnings: our hopes for the year ahead. The curled, ocean coloured Hapene Flax that flows from the bottom of the arrangement represents the mighty Waikato awa, flowing from Lake Taupō to the sea.
The arrangement is held in a black vase in the shape of a waka, a mark of respect to Tainui, whose lands we live on.
Greatful thanks go to the lovely Helen from Helen Eagleton Photography for wonderfully capturing this piece for me.
If you happen to spot this piece on your travels I’d love to see it! Tag me in your story or post, and tell me what you think in the comments!
Ngā mihi mō te Tau Hou Māori ki a koutou katoa ko tōku whānau me āku hoa (Greetings and blessings for the Māori New Year to all my family and my friends).