Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Tāhei Toi (Necklace)


  • Medium: glass (kiln-formed and fused), muka (New Zealand flax fibre)
  • Size: 6 × 15 inches (plus cords)
  • Reference Code: NZX130821

Te Rongo Kirkwood collaborating with weaver Mandy Sunlight.

“The immense freedom in trusting an intuitive idea, combining experimental concepts with glass-making techniques to create my work is thrilling.”

These necklaces are inspired by Te Rongo Kirkwood’s cloak forms in her exhibition Ka Awatea: A Journey of Life Through Glass. These adornment pieces are an extension of the cloak idea into necklaces combining woven flax muka with glass decoration.

“This was a personal exploration of the Māori cloak form, taking it from a ceremonial garment to a sculpted art object, where it is used to depict a spiritual journey through the cycle of life. Traditionally, the cloak (kahu) was held in high esteem by Māori as an item of adornment and prestige — a treasured artifact (taonga) that had a “persistent capacity to collapse genealogical space-time, allowing ancestors or tipuna to remain ‘in touch with their descendants’ through ‘providing aho or threads that join layers of generational time.’” With Ka Awatea, Te Rongo uses the cloak or kahu as metaphor, providing the gallery visitor with a personal view of a life played out in significant and successive stages, from the perspective of a soul. Each of the aesthetic and formal evolutional changes between the cloaks represents a stage in a sequential journey through that life — rendered as morning, afternoon and evening — and symbolizing growth, transformation and the gaining of wisdom.”

Te Rongo Kirkwood

Te Rongo Kirkwood


Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki, Wai o hua, Kawerau, Waikato

(1973- )

I feel a strong connection to my cultural roots, particularly since returning from 12 years in the UK and Europe. Embracing my heritage the work reflects cultural influences and my interest in the awakening of consciousness.