NEW ZEALAND X COOK ISLANDS | Karen Walker x Kuki Airani Creative Mamas

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THE EXCHANGE

Karen Walker worked with a community of tivaivai craftswomen from the Cook Islands, now resident in New Zealand. Her dress is made from dusty pink Italian wool flannel and is covered in claret-coloured tivaivai embroidered flowers. The flowers are iconic flora of the Māmās’ island home and include gardenia, jasmine, orchid, fruit salad plant, hibiscus, fringed hibiscus, red ginger, frangipani and the Cook Islands national flower, Tiare Māori. Added to these are the beloved Karen Walker daisies. The 10 plant varieties are brought to life with 12 different traditional stitch styles.

Karen Walker

Drawing on his Rotuman heritage, Hupfeld Hoerder captures the culture and beauty of his paradise islands home of Fiji, in his richly patterned fashion collections. The islands and islets that make up Fiji are tiny specks in the vast Pacific, and carry cultural references from neighbouring Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Hoerder, whose career spans 25 years, replicates the cultural diversity of the islands through vibrantly coloured prints, natural fibres and traditional motifs. His designs have won him many national fashion and business awards in the Pacific.

Kuki Airani Creative Mamas

A cooperative of women originally from the Cook Islands, Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās are expert in the craft of ‘tivaivai’ – a part-patchwork, part-embroidery tradition that is intrinsic to their island culture. Depicting designs that represent age-old legends, sea life and flowers, and often taking many years to complete, these bedspreads are rarely bought or sold. Instead they are given as special gifts, demonstrating love and patience, between family members, close friends and the community. The Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās work on tivaivai collectively, each given a part of the process to complete, in a spirit of togetherness.

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