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Weaver and heritage advocate Te Aue Davis dies

Weaver and heritage advocate Te Aue Davis dies


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Ngati Uekaha and Maniapoto are mourning the loss of weaver, historian and advocate , who died yesterday at the age of 85.

Former Creative New Zealand deputy chair Cliff Whiting says she made significant contributions to the Historic Places Trust in its understanding of waahi tapu, to the New Zealand Geographic Board, to various treaty claims, and to the development of Maori arts organisations like Nga Puna Waihanga and Te Waka Toi.

He says they first worked together in the 1980s developing the meeting house Maru Kaitatea at Takahanga Marae in Kaikoura for the Ngati Kuri hapu of Ngai Tahu.

We were approaching it from very much a community-oriented project, not a tohunga project. We set ourselves the task of developing carving processes that ordinary folk could move in to, weaving processes which Te Aue got very much involved in that that ordinary folk could get into which at the same time developing enough skill that their work could be used in a display in their meeting house,” Mr Whiting says.

Te Aue Davis is at her ancestral marae Tokikapu in Waitomo.

Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says the late Te Aue Davis was an inspiration not only as an artist but as an advocate for Maori.

The Ngati Maniapoto master weaver died on Sunday aged 85, and she has been taken back to Tokikapu Marae in Waitomo.

Mrs Turia remembers first meeting her at a wananga in Whanganui on making the traditional hieke or rain cape.

“She was very direct, Te Aue, never left you in any doubt about what she thought about things, and I did love that in her,” Mrs Turia says.

Te Aue Davis contributed not only to Maori arts organisations but through service on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust’s Maori Heritage Council, the Conservation Department ‘s Maori Heritage Board, and a Parliamentary Commission for the Environment research team that developed environmental performance indicators.

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