The Ockham book awards longlist for 2022 pleasingly includes two textile titles published in 2021, something we don’t often see. Congratulations to Claire Regnault for Dressed: Fashionable dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840-1910 making it onto the list. The other books is Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi, the book by Ngāhuia Te Awekōtuku, Donna Campbell, Nathan Pōhio and Awhina Tamarapa that accompanies the exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.
The good thing about books is that you don’t need to travel for them, and at the moment, many of us are moving around a bit less than we were a month ago. However, if you’re up in Auckland and feel like a walk, Auckland’s Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition isn’t all hard materials, with Michelle Mayn’s Te Harakeke, Te Kōrari, merging traditional methods of Māori weaving with installation practice. Made from hundreds of pokinikini (dried, rolled harakeke/New Zealand flax) sourced from the the Auckland Botanic Gardens pa Harakeke collection, the work is sited on down by the little bridge situated on the lake edge, with the wind, rain and changing sunlight bringing the material to life. For those who can’t make it in person a glimpse into the making of Te Harakeke, Te Kōrari, filmed by the talented videographer Kirsty MacDonald is available online.
Further south, MTG Hawke’s Bay currently offers a variety of dress, textile and adornment across a few exhibitions. It’s the latest site for the NZ Fashion Museum’s Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now (until 6 March), and it’s also offering Silver: Heirlooms from the Collection (until 2 May). Meanwhile, For Home and Country, Women’s Institutes of Hawke’s Bay (until 31 March), honours the founding in 1921 of the first New Zealand women’s institute with an exhibition of memorabilia including many of the beautifully embroidered banners that were a staple activity of many of the branches.
Finally (for now), a reminder that face masks are back in full force as they have been for the past couple of years. During which time not everyone has gone for the basic option. While many collections worldwide (including here in Aotearoa New Zealand) are compiling their Covid Collections, ICOM, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Costume, Fashion and Textiles has curated a virtual exhibition, Clothing the Pandemic, covering the various aesthetic, practical and political aspects of the humble and not-so-humble accessory of the early 2020s.