Hiria released a commemorative two-piece Matariki collection to celebrate the Māori New Year which happens every winter in New Zealand. This collection is inspired by the rising of the constellation Matariki, also known as Pleiades. Matariki translated means “Eyes of the God”. Each star in this constellation have a name. These are Matariki, Pohutukawa, Tupuanuku, Tupuarangi, Waiti, Waita, Waipunarangi, Ururangi and Hiwa-i-te-rangi. They all have their purpose and Māori would use this as a time to reflect upon the previous year and plan for the next.
Whakapapa (genealogy) is the main pou (pillar) of the creation process for all of Hiria’s designs. Being able to trace the origin of each design back to her family, Māori cultural stories or her ancestors is how she can find real depth in what she creates. It’s her anchor. Without this, it would stay in concept and it cannot be brought to life.
The 2 piece collection starts with the black and gold Pīataata design. Pīataata in Te Reo Māori means twinkling or shining brightly. This name comes from Hiria’s youngest daughter’s middle name as she was born on the Matariki public holiday. The black feathers in this Kākahu have an iridescent shimmer to mimic the deep dark night sky. The black and gold tāniko band, which is the neckline of this cloak, has a very well-known pattern known as the Niho Taniwha. Translated into English this means “teeth of the taniwha”. A Taniwha can be likened to a mythical creature that resembles what could be described as a dragon that mostly lives in the rivers of New Zealand. This saw-edged pattern is often seen on tukutuku panels which can be found in Mārae (native meeting houses) throughout New Zealand and was traditionally part of the tāniko weaving on the hems of korowai and other cloaks. The tāniko band she has used is accented with gold to represent the Matariki stars that twinkle and shine.
Pohutukawa is the star that connects Matariki to the deceased and it is the reason why people would cry out the names of those who have passed and weep when Matariki was seen rising in the early morning. It is through the Pohutukawa star that Māori remembers those who we've loved and lost in the past year.
Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the sister star in the Matariki constellation associated with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year. Hiria has created a companion piece for Pīataata and the white feathers reflect the lightness and brightness of this star. She has used the Niho Taniwha patterned Taniko band to match these sister designs like the stars.