Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa

New Zealand Māori tohunga raranga (master weaver)

Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa (1920-2009) was a New Zealand Māori tohunga raranga (master weaver). Of Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Kinohaku descent, she was given her unusual forename to honour the World War I diggers after her father served in the Māori Battalion. At her death, she was perhaps New Zealand's most renown weaver.

Te Kanawa is remembered as a teacher of weaving, on marae, at the tertiary Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and at events. She also traveled extensively to catalog materials lost to foreign museums during the colonial era.

Her work is not widely held in museums, being mainly made for specific people. In 1989 Te Kanawa and her mother were commissioned to make a cloak to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the University of Waikato. In 2006 she completed a commissioned korowai made of kiwi feathers for King Tuheitia as a statement of support for the Kingitanga.

Throughout the 1950s she was active in the Māori Women's Welfare League and in 1983 Te Kanawa co-founded what would become Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa with others including Emily Schuster of Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua

Te Kanawa was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2000 New Year Honours.

In 2007 Te Kanawa received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato, her mother had received one in 1986.

A collection of her kahu huruhuru (woven muka cloaks, feathered on one side) is in the Waikato Museum in Hamilton.
  • Gender
    Female
  • Relationship
    Artist/maker
  • Nationality
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Born
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place of birth
    Unknown or unrecorded

1 item(s) from the New Zealand collection related to Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa

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