Kaetaeta Watson & Louisa Humphry – Making Otintaai

Kaetaeta Watson & Louisa Humphry. Photographed by Raymond Sagapolutele, 2019.

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Join i-Kiribati makers Kaetaeta Watson and Louisa Humphry as they share their knowledge and practice in Kiribati raranga (weaving) and te bibiri (plaiting) techniques used to create their work, Otintaai, currently on exhibition at The Dowse, and demonstrate the process of making te kora, coconut fibre string.

Otintaai, meaning sunrise, is a costume created for “a female Kiribati warrior facing hard times . . . with climate change, the sea around her rising, overfishing, entangled netting and plastics polluting her waters and islands.”

“But she looks at the rising sun each day with hope, and stands firmly with the fight to create a better world for our children’s future.”

Inspired by Te Otanga, male Kiribati armour, the costume also makes reference to the knowledge of taeriri, a method used for making Kiribati dance skirts.

Kaetaeta was born in Eita village on the island of Tabiteuea, and Louisa on the island of Kuria, both in Kiribati. They moved from Kiribati to Aotearoa in 1973 and now live on the Coromandel Peninsula. Together they have exhibited nationally and internationally, and made significant impacts in advocating and activating the maintenance and transmission of Kiribati culture and heritage in collaboration with i-Kiribati communities and other creatives.

This event is part of Ā Mua: New Lineages of Making, which features projects by more than 20 makers from throughout Aotearoa, to explore and challenge the definition of craft in Aotearoa today.

Image Caption: Kaetaeta Watson & Louisa Humphry. Photographed by Raymond Sagapolutele, 2019.