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Published: 12 November 2022

By Andy Ross

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Maungarongo Ron Te Kawa

Maungarongo Ron Te Kawa has worked in textiles for decades, thanks to his father who bought a sewing machine when Ron was nine years old and taught himself to sew to pass on the skills to his son. 

Since then the designer has worked in fashion, and started to sew figures onto clothing, telling stories their application. A few years back he decided to go in a different direction and took up quilting. Now his quilts are shown in galleries and museums. Each tells a unqiue story, bringing to life, through stitching and cloth, characters from his life and Maaori background and whakapapa. They are filled with colour and light, even when the stories are not, such as in the quilt "The Natives Must Be In Awe", a tale that relates to the first sightings of the ship HMS Endeavour in Aotearoa New Zealand. Here is an article by the artist about his work that gives an insight into how process and thinking behind each piece. 

Next year he is off to Sweden and Norway to share work with Saami peoples from that part of the world. Ron Te Kawa's workshops are well-attended and in-demand and it is no surprise that he is travelling overseas. His workshops are much in demand in Aotearoa New Zealand and you can find out more about them here. How fabulous!