Kiriana O’Connell (Ngāti Tūkorehe, Pākehā) has studied raranga (flax weaving) for the past sixteen years.
Her work embraces traditional techniques and patterns and she is continually inspired by both the mastery and artistry of her ancestors. The materials she works with can be either contemporary or traditional and she sources the appropriate fibres according to the project at hand.
Raranga is a process that requires dedicated, careful, and time-consuming preparation. Consequently, Kiriana is renowned for carrying a harvesting tool in her car (or handbag) just in case she happens upon the perfect harakeke plant; is skilled at holding in a sneeze in front of carefully sorted piles of feathers; and has become adept at picking splinters out of her fingers with often broken nails.
It is this very process based work that fascinates her and allows her to experience ‘flow’ in what she considers to be the crucial continuum between her ancestors and future generations.
She has been tutoring raranga workshops since 2012, has exhibited across Tamaki Makaurau and is a member of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa.