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Te Whakapapa o Mana Wāhine

Updated: May 4, 2023

The revitalisation of feminine Māori cosmology is intertwined with the empowerment of Māori women in the present. The works explore the stories of Atua Wāhine (Māori goddesses) and elements of customary Māori art forms seen within the marae space (whakairo, tukutuku, kowhaiwhai). The works were created alongside a group of students (mentored by the artist) from Westlake Girls High School (WGHS). Seven of the eight figures were inspired by the students' drawings and research. They will be developed further through consultation with mana whenua and eventually line the walls of a whare wānanga to be built at WGHS in the coming years. Alongside the physical works,

the artist's voice fills the space by describing the stories of the Atua Wāhine depicted, alluding to the educational purpose of the eventual whare wānanga and the tradition of oral transmission of these stories.


Emma Ormsby started by researching and designing the poupou and tukutuku for Hineteiwaiwa as seen in the adjacent images. This was used as an example for the students so they could design their own poupou and tukutuku with the layering process in mind. Over a series of 8 weeks the students researched and designed their poupou and tukutuku.

Students Drawings & Merging the Designs


Clean Drawing...

Laser Cutting & Assembling

Final Outcome

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