Jeanine Clarkin Kia Ora Masks

Artist: Jeanine Clarkin

"...Thank you for buying one of my face masks. The onslaught of this worldwide pandemic has meant that Māori have had to review and assess some of our tikanga yet again. The concept of physical and social distancing removed our most sacred greeting: to hongi. We struggled to find an adequate replacement. Coming up fast behind that, was the loss of our ability to celebrate our dead in the honourable manner we were accustomed to , leaving those double grief stricken. 

We are breathing through this and accept it as temporary and common sense even if the authorities can't grace us with the respect of knowing our limits and right to apply our own tino rangatiratanga. Moving along, I looked into Asia and the increasing trend to wear facemasks to protect against pollution. This, along with the concept of protecting the wairua of their breath, their QI, i thought to myself "YES" that makes sense to me so I was happy to embrace this health benefit and went ahead and adorned the mask when I went out in public.

But then I was met with another glitch: this effectively made me wahangū  - muted, silenced..gagged!

I was unable to get my Kia Ora out - my "hello', my "how's life",  my "good health", my mihi was trapped inside me. Eye contact was not sufficient to encompass all I wanted to say. There was really only one way to get the words out, to enable my reo to flow. 

As an international indigenous designer, I took to my cutting room to produce a range of masks using our reo and reflecting our wairua with greetings and messages embroidered on them.

So, kia haumaru - be safe" ... Jeanine Clarkin




Kia Ora

Kia Kaha

Mauri Ora

Tēna Koe

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$35.00 includes GST.