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Library staff get artistic with anniversary panels

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20 April 2009

A large-scale Māori art project to celebrate Christchurch City Libraries’ 150th Anniversary is gathering momentum with the first weaving workshop being held this Thursday.

Representatives from the 36 teams of the Libraries’ network will start work on creating their own unique tukutuku panel at the two-hour workshop at the Upper Riccarton Library starting at 2.30 pm. The weaving then continues as a team and community effort in various libraries around the city during Matariki, in June.

Whilst Christchurch City Libraries have previously worked with the Ngā Puna Waihanga-Waitaha Tai Poutini and the community to create 19 traditional panels in 2001-2002, the Anniversary tukutuku project is an exciting development for the Libraries being the first time a Māori art project will be completed on such a large scale, with every team being involved says Annette Williams, Project Leader 150th anniversary for the Libraries.

The completed panels will adorn the walls of the libraries and teams throughout the network and reflect their team’s history, location or values, says Ms Williams. Library customers also have an opportunity to contribute to the weaving at the community tukutuku sessions as part of this year’s Matariki celebrations.

Tukutuku is a traditional woven Māori art form often used to record or signify, events, histories or anything of significance to its creators. The panels created by the Libraries’ team will commemorate the 150th anniversary of public library service in Christchurch. While strict cultural protocols guide the making of traditional tukutuku panels, from harvesting of the native plants used for the weaving through to the physical process of the weaving and their design and display, the 150th anniversary tukutuku panels will be constructed from non-traditional materials and will also incorporate modern designs.

“They will be made with contemporary materials and this will make the process easier and enable wider participation,” says Ms Williams.

The impetus for the tukutuku panels project came from the 150th anniversary Project Team who were looking for a bicultural activity to celebrate their milestone year.

“We wanted to highlight our commitment to bi-culturalism, involve staff and customers and end up with something that was visually appealing and meaningful. The tukutuku panels project pulls all of these components together wonderfully,” says Bev Prout, the Libraries 150th Anniversary Project Sponsor.

For further information, please contact:

Annette Williams
DDI: 941-7860
Libraries Info Line - 941-7923