Dr Patricia Te Arapo Wallace was involved in one of Christchurch City Libraries’ most significant cultural taonga Pūawaitanga o te Ringa – Fruits of our busy hands, a series of tukutuku panels that were specially woven as a community project for the Ngā Pounamu Māori Centre.
She is widely respected for her knowledge of Māori material culture:
When Dr Patricia Wallace wanted to piece together the mysteries of traditional Maori dress, she found inspiration in an unconventional form – modern-day plastic Ken dolls. With the help of ‘Barbie boyfriends’ she was able to reconstruct how early Maori traditionally wore large kaitaka (cloaks) wrapped around their bodies.
Last month Dr Wallace became the first Ngata Centenary Doctoral Scholar to graduate from Canterbury with a PhD in Maori. While the department has previously awarded four doctorates, Dr Wallace is the first Maori person to do her doctoral study solely in the Maori department. Her achievements are even more remarkable for the fact that she only embarked on a university education in her fifties. Research throws new light on traditional Maori dress.
from the article Research throws new light on traditional Maori dress (2003)
She wrote an impressive Introduction to Māori Dress feature in the Berg Fashion Library, in 2010.
Dr Wallace also wrote the chapter ‘He whatu ariki- he kura, he waero: chiefly threads – red and white’ in the book Looking Flash: Clothing in Aotearoa New Zealand by Labrum, McKergow and Gibson (2007).
She is one of six contributors to Whatu Kākahu-Māori Cloaks (2011) which will be launched at the 2011 National Weavers’ Hui.
Read Patricia’s Researcher profile from the University of Canterbury.