An IDEAschool ākonga (student), on the cusp of finishing her degree, has won a merit award at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.
Aiaikitekura Kavana says she is very proud.
“I didn’t realise I had won a Merit Award on my collection at first, and I’m flabbergasted. At my age, you feel blessed to be rewarded for your ideas.”
New Zealand’s top awards for amateur fashion designers, in its 35th year, were held in Gore at the end of July. It is widely regarded as the event where young designers showcase their talents.
Aiaikitekura didn’t attend the awards in person, instead watching online.
“I was watching it on my phone with other students. So, when I heard my name, I said, “Yay, they’re calling out all the students’ names’. It wasn’t until my tutor rang me to congratulate me. And I said to her, ‘I was wondering why everybody was sending me messages’.”
The 66-year-old is in her final year of a Bachelor of Creative Practice (Fashion) and previously graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Practice (Visual Arts & Design) in 2015.
Aiaikitekura moved to New Zealand from the Cook Islands when she was 10 years old. Her collection ‘Colonisation’ was inspired by her life experience as an immigrant living away from her homeland.
By incorporating her love of weaving and sowing, the three piece collection merges her Aitutakian heritage and her grandchildrens Scottish heritage.
Her love for fashion began on the Islands when she would spend time with her mother and other ladies in the village sewing Tivaivai (traditional Cook Island embroidered bedspreads).
Over the course of her degree, Aiaikitekura says she has fallen in love with the design process.
She is now working on a five-piece cultural collection, which will be showcased at the annual end of year EIT | Te Pūkenga IDEAschool Fashion Show in November.
This time, she is branching outside of her comfort zone.
“I’m doing things that I don’t normally do, like using lots of colour. It will be culturally based and will incorporate weaving. The theme is nature, and I am adopting the colours of the cultures close to me; Cook Island, Scottish and Māori.”
Once graduated, Aiaikitekura hopes to create community programmes for young children to learn the art of sewing and weaving.