Just as whakapapa reflects someone’s lineage and biology, the starting line of a kete determines how its patterning and size will develop. Here, Maureen Lander has created three installations that explore the connections between whakapapa and raranga.
Flat-Pack Whakapapa is about kinship, family and friendship networks as well as genetic heritage. Approaching human connection from a mātauranga Māori perspective, Lander engages with weaving techniques—including whiri and whakairo—and the concept of aho tuku iho.
Building on the notion that our whakapaka is always with us, Lander’s installations can be packed down into individual weavings: easily carried around, reconfigured and added onto later. Her approach symbolises how whakapapa grows with us, and how our genealogy is inherited by our descendants, who continue our heritage lines. By representing whakapapa as a series of portable weavings, Lander symbolises the idea that even though whanau migrate away from their tūrangawaewae, hapū, and iwi, they always carry their culture with them.
Using an everyday idea like flat-pack design to symbolise deeply held cultural beliefs such as whakapapa, Lander contributes to a wider, ongoing conversation amongst contemporary Māori artists who address customary knowledge in ways that are relevant for new generations.
kete: basket, kit
raranga: Māori weaving, plaitwork
mātauranga Māori: Māori knowledge
aho tuku iho: ancestral lines handed down continuously from generation to generation
tūrangawaewae: the place people belong to through their genealogy
hapū: extended family
Te Ara Pikipiki a Tāwhaki: The Pathway Climbed by Tāwhaki
Exhibition developed and toured by