Artist designer and weaver Shona Tāwhiao (Ngai Te Rangi, Whakatōhea, Te Whanau Āpanui) has exhibited her distinct style of raranga woven work for 25 years.
Having trained in traditional Māori raranga weaving techniques and methods, by Kahutoi Te Kanawa, Tāwhiao’s talent has been described as exquisite and undeniably unique.
The fusing of her love of fashion and culture with her specialised techniques in weaving has enabled Tāwhiao to create Haute Couture from flax fibre known to Māori as harakeke. This has resulted in her unique style being dubbed “Harakeke Couture”.
Tāwhiao’s multi award-winning collections of Harakeke Couture have been presented at New Zealand London Malaysia Fiji Hong Kong and Melbourne Fashion Weeks since 2010.
Tāwhiao has showcased her works internationally at the MaMo Arts Festival in Honolulu, Chapel St Roch in Paris and in London at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich to an international group of museum curators.
In 2016 Tāwhiao was invited by Dr Maia Nuku to participate in a three week residency at the Oceanic Department of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Tāwhiao leant her creative influence to films such as the Māori Merchant of Venice and River Queen and in 2012 designed costumes for ‘The Māori Troilus and Cressida’ that opened Shakespeare’s Olympics at The Globe Theatre in London to rave reviews. This led to her being nominated and winning the Brancott Estate ‘Best Costume Designer of the Year’ at The Chapman Tripp Theatre awards in Wellington New Zealand.