Leading up to the days of te hui aa motu – the National Kiingitanga gathering at Tūrangawaewae – guests began to ask questions on what they should wear. It was a day not only to discuss ways forward for te iwi Māori, but also a day to gather and express Māoritanga.
Usual tikanga would be tidy blacks: long black pants for tāne and long black skirts for wāhine. But organiser Moko Templeton said, “what colour you wear isn’t important… we just need you to come to the hui.”
The Kiingi’s chief of staff, Ngira Simmonds added, “shine bright like a diamond e te iwi! 💎”.
The thousands who attended the hui had all clearly thought about what they would wear for a day potentially for the history books. Eda Tang spoke to some who used kākahu to express their identity or whakapapa, make a political statement, bring joy or just be practical for the warm weather.
Huriana Mohi (Te Arawa, Te Whānau-a-Apanui)
Huriana’s outfit is all about “storytelling through attire” and modernising tūturu style. She wears a dress of her own kākahu collection, Hunaarn. The tiered black dress is inspired by pari she says, “like those kapa haka bodices”.
"I wanted a simple but detailed black dress that we can wear at kaupapa Māori, a tangihanga, at hui, at the AGM - something says ‘I am Māori’”.
Croatia Rudolph (Ngāpuhi)
Croatia wears a korowai from one of his kaumatua, as a way of bringing those who couldn’t make it.
“My taiaha is also named after one of our tupuna up from Hokianga, called Korokoro. He was one of the prominent chiefs within Pākanae,” explains Croatia. “To bring Korokoro was a way to protect my kaumatua [as we’re entering onto the marae].”
He said he came not only in response to the Government’s stance on Te Tiriti but also, “when I’m older, my mokopuna can ask if I was there and I can tell them that I was.”
Samuel Bunge (Ngāi Tūhoe)
Samuel pairs his formal black pants with a fun Karangahape Road thrifted shirt. He says he hasn’t got the “power straps” on his Jibbitz-adorned Crocs as he’d be taking them on and off all day.
His bag was gifted to him from his mum. “I don’t really get to use it that much, so I thought that I could get it out.”
Samuel’s mullet is easy to spot in the crowd of thousands. He’s rocked it for two years but he thinks it’s ready to go next month. “It’s done its course.”
Aaria Barlow (Waikato)
Aaria is one of the many workers on the day looking after manuhiri [visitors/guests] and keeping the hui a smooth operation. “The whole thing has been amazing,” she said. “Just goosebumps. The pōwhiri was so beautiful.”
Even as a kaimahi [worker] on the day, Aaria accessorised her Waikato-Tainui blacks with taonga and DIY tino rangatiratanga colours on her nails. “Covid gave us a lot of time to figure things out so we watched a lot of videos and now I’m Youtube-qualified in nails.”
Lissa Davies (Te Tai Tokerau)
People used to call her the 'hand-me-down-girl' and she makes it look so good. Lissa from Whāngarei brings the wairua of loved ones to the hui, wearing shoes gifted by a dear friend who passed recently, a kete and taonga from her daughter, a hat bought second-hand and an accent long pink skirt. She said she dressed cool for the weather, but she looks cool in more than one sense.
“In my younger days, I used to wear lots of bright colours and then as I had children, I dressed more conservatively,” Lissa said. “I’m in my 60s now, on the go, so I thought I’d just start dressing the way I used to.”