BIOS Zone 7: Future Fibres Research in Progress

An exciting element of BIOS (and the Awhi Incubator) were the community collaborations with Northland fibre artists and Toi Māori practitioners.

After a fabulous workshop at Rawene, run by Dr Frances Joseph, Ako Hokianga arts coordinators Kara Dodson and Reva Mendes and tutors from Maunga Kura Toi: Lorraine King and Te Hemo Ata Henare presented their research in Whangarei Art Museum – in Zone 7 of BIOS.


(Images by Nimmy Santhosh Photography)

Maunga Kura Toi

Te Hemo Ata Henare

“Nā taku mātanga, E whakahei ana nei ki te oranga tonutanga
i ngā tāonga o Te Ao Māori
… As a practitioner, I have an obligation to ensure the survival of our Tāonga”

Te Hemo Ata (Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti kahu, Ngati Hine, Ngati Wai, Ngai Te Rangi, Te Whakatohea) graduated from Toioho Ki Apiti, Massey University with a Master’s in Māori Visual Arts in 2017.

She is a contemporary weaver, learning and practising customary techniques. A practitioner/Pouako spanning 45 years, Te Hemo Ata first learnt to weave at the age of 12 and at the age of 19 started teaching Raranga within the tertiary sector. She has facilitated and participated in group exhibitions and numerous marae projects throughout Aotearoa.

Her focus for many years has been to ensure the continued practice of weaving to pass on to future generations.

Natural resources are Te Hemo Ata’s preferred medium; however, due to climate change, which is causing the depletion of our natural resources, she is not a stranger to using alternative materials.

“Tēnei au he tauira nā ōku tüpuna.
Tēnei au he tauira ma ngā whakatupuranga.
He tauira! He tauira! E ara e”

Te Hemo Ata has created a work entitled: Mauororangi (Medium: (mixed media), cotton thread, fluorescent pigment, tikumu (mountain daisy), muka (flax fibre), and bamboo.
She notes: “The work represents how seasons create their light sources, with the three circular forms echoing the mountaintops of both regions where the natural fibres were collected. Tikumu is a fibre that is found in the South Island and is used for Pake (raincapes), this material has been sourced in the Nelson region, and muka is sourced from Te Tai Tokerau. The art of whatu, is to bind within fibre. Seen in the night sky, it creates tension that shows the strength of one’s natural medium from Te Taiao.”

(Images by Naomi Aporo-Manihera)

Maunga Kura Toi


Lorraine King (Ngāti Kahu, Whakatohea) is a Rauangi Kaiako and Pathway Manager – Creative for Maunga Kura Toi. King is a painter by trade and is one of many in her generation of Māori artists who draws on her tribal heritage to explore cosmo-genealogical narratives and social issues. She graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Auckland University of Technology and is currently completing her master’s studies in Māori Visual Arts with Toioho Ki Apiti, Massey University. King has featured in numerous exhibitions throughout New Zealand and has also exhibited internationally.

In her words, “It’s been a fantastic opportunity to learn first-hand about the many possibilities on offer through these exciting new technologies and to find ways to weave them (sometimes literally) into our existing practices.”

Lorraine King’s work: Tipu Ake (Medium: board, EL wire, paint), represents the organic formations that nature generates and supports the idea of growth, movement, and form.

According to Lorraine: “Curvilinear formations within kowhaiwhai generate movement and express the idea of transferring knowledge. Light (represented by EL wire) emphasises the lineage of growth and the fragility of change within the environment that can impede growth within all aspects of Te Taiao.”


(Images by Lorraine King)

Ako Hokianga

Ako Hokianga arts coordinators Kara Dodson and Reva Mendes have co-created Ki te whaiao, Ki te ao mārama

The work has ten sections bringing together the past, present and future in choice of materials and concepts. The number 10, comprising of 1 and 0, refers not only to the word ‘io’ but also to the 1 and 0 of the computer binary.

In their words: “The pou represents the past through its traditional form and use of fibres, as well as upcycled lampshades (which have lived a life in someone’s home). The present is the contemporary materials like plastic (in this case, found in construction materials). And the future in the use of new inks and the future of the work itself as a piece still in-formation.

Materials in the work (from the top):

Lampshade, construction plastic, rivets
Lampshade, hapene korari, rivets
Lampshade, screen printed fluorescent ink on vinyl, rivets
Lampshade, pingao, kuta
Lampshade, Egyptian silk thread
Lampshade, hapene korari
Lampshade, construction plastic strapping, rivets
Lampshade, screen printed fluorescent ink on cotton, rivets
Lampshade, construction plastic, rivets
Lampshade, korari, rivets


Reva Mendes is a Māori Fibre-based Artist and Raranga expert.

Tarakeha, Rakautapu, Te Ramaroa, Whakataha nga maunga
Tumoana, Ngahuia, Paa Te Aroha, Tauwhara nga marae
Tao Maui, Ngai Tupoto, Te Hikutu, Ngai Tawake nga Hapu
Moetangi, Tapuwae, Whirinaki, Waitangi nga awa
Hokianga ki Taumarere ahau! Tihe wa Mauri ora!

Reva’s background as a Traditional Maori Weaver in Maori Fibre and the Arts, started nearly 25 years ago with Unitec in Tamaki, following study with Te Wananga o Raukawa in Maori Arts, then onto a Degree in Visual Arts with NorthTec. Since then, she has taught with Te Wananga o Aotearoa and has integrated her practice within Hauora.

Kara Dodson is a maker and an activator with a background as a Gallerist, Arts Mentor and Event Organiser. Trained as an architect, she has worked in the film and music industries and set up several arts businesses.

Kara and Reva represent Ako Hokianga – the arts and IT arm of Hokianga Community Educational Trust (HCET). They are focused on bringing innovative arts and IT training to the people of Hokianga so they can receive the specific up-skilling they ask to extend their art practices and be empowered to use new technologies and methodologies.


(Images by Reva Mendes and Kara Dodson)

Next Steps

The works represent research in progress. They are the first iterations, prototypes and experiments with different materials. The practitioners will be attending further workshops during BIOS and will take these initial works to another stage going forward.

These works were seen in Zone 7 of BIOS.

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