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.
Whetu Marama Tirikātene-Sullivan passed away in July. She is renowned as the first Māori woman cabinet minister. But she also had a major influence in the world of fashion and design, as this article Snapshot: A Māori Fashion Designer in the Berg Fashion Library reveals:
She commissioned a large number of garments incorporating Māori motifs by contemporary Māori artists, such as Sandy Adsett, Para Matchitt, Cliff Whiting, and Frank Davis. She wore these at her many public engagements, and they were generally regarded as her signature style. For many New Zealanders this was the first time they had seen such traditional elements in a new context.