Maungarongo Te Kawa

Maungarongo Te Kawa

Ngāti Porou

Maungarongo (Ron) Te Kawa’s practice spans four decades and has encompassed fashion, costume, teaching, and art-making in Aotearoa and Australia. Over the past ten years, he has focused on creating whakapapa quilts, working with community groups as well as on his own.

"Early on in my career, I would do the rounds of op shops in Christchurch, starting at 8am on a Monday. By lunchtime, the van would be loaded up with fabric. After lunch, everything would be sorted and I’d be ready to create 50 or so garments to offer at the local market. We would sell out every weekend. That’s tino rangatiratanga, self-responsibility, zero exploitation."

"Developing a sustainable fashion business isn’t only about where to source ethical materials, it’s also about sustaining your wairua and energy. Nobody is perfect, but you have to be able to look in the mirror and tell your ancestors that you gave it your best. When you know better, you do better.’

Ron currently has quilt exhibitions at Season, Tāmaki Makaurau, and Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga. Later this year, he will tour Scandinavia with the support of Objectspace.

He was awarded Best Futuristic Design at the 2006 Canterbury Fashion Awards, has been nominated for a Benson and Hedges Fashion award and in 2019 he was named the Adult Community and Education Aotearoa Māori Educator of the Year.