Te Ara i Whiti Artist Feature – Fiona

Fiona Collis

Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāi Tūhoe

Fiona stems from a line of traditional weavers that have grounded her practice as a contemporary weaver and artist. Raised in Tolaga Bay and having grown up close to her grandmother Mrs Madeleine Tangohau the interest for raranga was cultivated at an early age. Fiona graduated with a Bachelors from Toihoukura, school of Māori Visual Arts and Design. She has also studied under and worked alongside many Tohunga raranga in the fibre arts which has contributed to the development of her weaving practice today.

Fiona’s most recent works are inspired by traditional Māori muka garments, the kākahu, tarapouahi and the pake karure. Her work is influenced by the precision and innovation of the intricate work of our tīpuna, and the creativity in the techniques they used to make these fine and exquisite garments.

Fiona’s recent works include her contemporary Manutukutuku (kites), currently being exhibited on behalf of Hoea! Gallery and Project Space at Mangere Art Centre in Tāmaki Makaurau. Fiona also runs regular raranga workshops around Te Ika A Maui.

Te Ara i Whiti

Fiona is one of our twelve exhibiting artists for Te Ara i Whiti 2021.

For Te Ara i Whiti this year, Fiona is drawing inspiration from her time spent studying at Toihoukura. Her concept has been developed by an idea given from Simon Lardelli, of a large-scale contemporary piupiu, Nei ka noho i te uranga o te rā. Fiona says, “the women of Te Tairāwhiti during the haka pōhiri are known for our swing. The sound of the piupiu slapping against the body when wāhine swing during haka, the sound the piupiu makes when the kaiwero runs out to challenge the manuhiri, all these things have inspired this work”. Fiona hopes that this piupiu will act as a karanga piece to welcome manuhiri to our place. Nei ka noho i te uranga o te rā includes a soundscape from Julie Noanoa and Norm Heke called Ngā pūoro o te Pā Harakeke 2021.