Te Manu Huna a Tāne

Jennifer Gillam and Eugene Hansen

book cover for Te Manu Huna a Tāne
Title Info Sheet Sample Pages

Hard cover


A unique insight into weaving with kiwi feathers

This special photo book documents a wānanga or class for three generations of women from Ngāti Torehina ki Matakā to learn the customary practice of pelting North Island brown kiwi so their feathers can be used for weaving. This passing on of customary knowledge developed out of a partnership between conservationists and weavers that returned accidentally killed kiwi to the hapū or family of the rohe or district in which they were found.

Weaving, perhaps the pre-eminent form of Māori women’s cultural expression, was in serious decline in New Zealand until the 1950s, when a concerted effort was made by Māori women to preserve and maintain it and to highlight the need to protect vital natural resources. Formal training is now available through universities and polytechnics, but traditionally weaving has been taught within hapū, usually by a mother, aunt or grandmother honouring protocols and restrictions to maintain the integrity of the discipline.

It offers a particular perspective on the contemporary hapū-led cultural practices of Māori women and their intersection of the sacred and profound in the everyday. It also brings a greater understanding of conservation efforts and, in particular, of how the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai works closely with tangata whenua.

To look inside, click here.

‘Look at this dead bird and feel the sight of it catch in your craw, claw at your throat, feel it spill from your eyes, this book should make you feel uncomfortable, this book should make you want things to be different, this book should make you move.’ — essa may ranapiri, The Spinoff 

‘It’s books like this that will help us to rethink how we as a society need to change.’ — Leilani Tamu, RNZ

  • CATEGORY: Art, design and architecture, Contemporary issues, Te ao Māori
  • ISBN: 9780995123069
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 11/06/2020
  • FORMAT: Hard cover
Profile image for Jennifer Gillam

Jennifer Gillam is a photographer, writer and exhibiting multimedia artist.

Profile image for Eugene Hansen

Eugene Hansen (Maniapoto) is a senior lecturer at Massey University’s Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Wellington.