Te Ara i Whiti Artist Feature – Ron

Ron TeKawa

Ngāti Porou

Maungarongo (Ron) TeKawa of Ngāti Porou has been working prolifically in fashion, art, community development and education across Aotearoa New Zealand for decades. Using sewing as a conduit to connect with people, his legendary workshops have given countless participants the confidence to create and express with fabric.

Ron’s unique quilting style continually explores mātauranga Māori, his whakapapa and atua wāhine (goddesses) through bold colour and a tactile application of materials. Breaking the rules of traditional quilt construction, all types of fabric are masterfully stitched together to illustrate scenes from his imagination, his history and the stories of the people influential to his life.

“My whakapapa quilts are an invitation to celebrate the fun, colour and magic of te ao Māori and all those things that fill my heart and heal my mind and spirit. Dance, connection to wairua and nature, whānau, whenua, stories, survival, resilience.”

Ron TeKawa has exhibited throughout Aotearoa New Zealand including a solo exhibition in 2020 at Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi, Whakatāne. He was awarded Best Futuristic Design at the 2006 Canterbury Fashion Awards, has been nominated for a Benson and Hedges Fashion award and in 2019 he was named the Adult Community and Education Aotearoa Māori Educator of the Year.

Te Ara i Whiti

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

Ron has created a large-scale quilt installation that represents Hinetakurua and the changing of the seasons. It is a combination of his love for whakapapa quilts and for storytelling around Matariki and how this has healed his whānau.