Rauaroha - Veranoa Hetet
Artist Profile : Veranoa Hetet (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Maniapoto, Te Atiawa)
I was born into a family of artists. My great grandmother, Rangimarie Hetet, was New Zealand's most noted weaver of recent time. Rangimarie is credited with having revived the art of Maori weaving in New Zealand. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University and was made a Dame for services to New Zealand and to Maori weaving. Rangimarie was deemed a Living Treasure and continued to weave up until her passing at the age of 103 in 1995.
My Mother, Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, was taught by Rangimarie and was an acclaimed weaver and artist whose work was celebrated for its innovation. Erenora taught hundreds of people to weave as well as being a very prolific artist who in her short life created a multitude of works that can now be found in public and private collections throughout the World.
My father is the Master Carver, Rangi Hetet, who is the last surviving member of a group of carvers that travelled throughout New Zealand in the 1950's and 60's carving Meeting Houses under the guidance of Tohunga, Hone Taiapa. My father was also my teacher and from him I gained knowledge of kowhaiwhai (traditional scroll like design) and tukutuku (lattice panel work).
Both of my parents were honoured with the ONZM and I have endeavoured to continue in my family’s dedication to creating artworks of an extremely high quality of the very best materials. I am unwavering in the use of the traditional material of flax fibre for cloak weaving. Although cottons, wools and other fibres are readily available in stores, I choose to spend up to two months of physically hard work preparing flax fibres. This is done in the traditional manner using a mussel shell to extract
the fibre and my bare leg to ply the fibres into weave-able strands. I am not only a traditional weaver but, like my mother, have used my creative urges to learn new skills which enhance my contemporary artworks. Having spent six months
learning Silversmithing with two Danish Goldsmiths and having been in a 25 year artist exchange with Native American artists from Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico I am now able to incorporate new materials and techniques into my work.
After being a teacher of traditional Maori weaving for 25 years for various tertiary
institutions, I now teach privately and travel throughout the world promoting and
demonstrating Maori weaving. Most recently I was asked to help celebrate the culture and heritage of the Commonwealth through the arts in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland and to promote Maori weaving in the Museum Volkenkunde, the Netherlands.
In 2012 I was approached by the UK government to take up a short teaching residency on Saint Helena Island. Travelling via a five day voyage on a cargo ship saw me arrive at one of the most remote places in the world. It was here that I discovered more New Zealand flax than I have ever seen! I remained on Saint Helena Island for five weeks and over thatshort time taught 40 people to weave (and barely put a dent in the abundance of New Zealand flax).
Exhibitions are also a vehicle for me to share my art. I have had a few exhibitions of note and am currently working towards a major exhibition to be held at The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt in 2016.
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