A group of Tūwharetoa weavers have documented the process of creating what could be the largest ever piupiu to be displayed at The Biennale of Sydney art exhibition later this year.
Hone Bailey, Paehoro Konui, Merānia Heke-Chase and Manu Fox spent three months of tireless mahi to create the two-metre-by-two-metre garment - working up to 12 hours most days.
Showing the process from paper patterns, and harakeke bushes to the final taonga, Hone shared the now-viral video to Instagram.
The piece is made from 1,800 harvested harakeke leaves. Mānuka was also harvested to create a soak for the piece to begin the boiling process.
The harakeke leaves are boiled and dried so they whiten and roll into tube-like strands.
Describing the weaving process Hone wrote: “Because we had predetermined dimensions for the completed piupiu we had to make and weave with a specific thickness of whenu (warp) and aho (weft).”
Using traditional methods (waiwai and paru) the rōpū began to dye the piupiu.
The paru (mud) is rubbed into the fibres and left there creating the darker colours you see in the final product.
In a follow-up post, Hone explained: “This piece honours an esteemed leader of our iwi (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Koro Te Kanawa Pitiroi who passed away just over a year ago. His passing has been a tremendous loss to our iwi and we wanted to honour his legacy through this taonga.”
Hone’s video is continuing to gain traction with over 600,000 views on Instagram.
We can’t wait to see the reactions to the taonga named Punarua when it goes up on display in Sydney on March 9th.