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Published: 28 October 2022

By Andy Ross

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Woven Identities: Tartan meets Koru

Aotearoa New Zealand has strong links with many places around the globe through its history of immigration, amongst them Scotland. 

Scotland appears in various guises all around the country. Here in Te Waipounamu The South Island, place names such as Galloway and Glenorchy regularly pop-up on maps and signs and there are many who trace their ancestry back to Scotland mainland and the islands, evidenced by house names and sectional titles. These relationships though have come at a price for lots of New Zealanders. Colonial times may have brought benefits but they also brought hardship, the loss of identity and culture for many. 

An exhibition at the Stirling Smith Gallery and Museum in Scotland reveals, celebrates and explores this relationship. Mitchell Manuel, actor, digital artist, and textile and fashion designer, has both Scottish and Maori ancestry and combines the iconic symbols of Aotearoa and Scotland - koru and tartan - to create works that represent both heritages.

The exhibition is on until the 6th November. If you cannot make it to the show, this link is to an interview with the designer. 

Thank you to the reader who sent this link in to share on the blog.