Pacific-inspired Fashion Exhibition Comes to Canterbury

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Award-winning garments by a talented Christchurch teen will be among the Pacific-inspired looks on show at Canterbury Museum’s new exhibition, opening on Saturday, 22 February.

Natasha Senior photographer Mara Sommer

Model Layla Dole wears Natasha Senior’s Avarua top and neoprene trouser. Photo by Mara Sommer, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ.

Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now features a linen top and neoprene trousers by emerging designer Natasha Senior. In 2018, when Natasha was 14, the look won top prize at the YMCA Walk The Line catwalk, part of New Zealand Fashion Week.

Natasha’s work will be displayed alongside garments from established designers like Trelise Cooper and Adrienne Whitewood.

Developed by the New Zealand Fashion Museum, Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now looks through the lens of fashion at how Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity is shaped by our place in the Pacific Ocean (Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa).

Co-curators Doris de Pont and Dan Ahwa have selected garments and jewellery by New Zealand designers to showcase the influence of the Pacific on who we are and what we wear.

Garments in the exhibition range from streetwear by Bill Urale’s (aka King Kapisi) Overstayer label, which sold at Farmers in the early 2000s, to a merino wool wrap that is reminiscent of a muka kaitaka (flax fibre cloak) created by Emilia Wickstead in collaboration with Woolmark in 2019.

Canterbury Museum is the first South Island venue to exhibit Moana Currents; it showed at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Auckland late last year.

Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the exhibition is a terrific showcase for the extraordinary work of Aotearoa New Zealand’s fashion designers and the pride we have in the way Pacific cultures have influenced our Kiwi sense of style. 

“What we wear really does reflect who we are as individuals and as a nation. We think this exhibition will be very popular with both our local and international visitors.”

New Zealand Fashion Museum Director and Moana Currents co-curator Doris de Pont says she’s thrilled to be bringing the exhibition to Canterbury.

Moana Currents shows how our history of migration and cultural exchange is visible in what we wear and how we adorn ourselves. Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity has evolved over time as generations of people migrated here. Who we are and how we dress is a reflection of those journeys both past and present and an expression of our aspirations and how we want to be seen.”

Doris de Pont will give a floor talk in the exhibition on Saturday – see Canterbury Museum’s website for details and to book a place.

Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now runs from 22 February to 14 June at Canterbury Museum.

More images of pieces from the exhibition are available to download here


About the New Zealand Fashion Museum

Established in 2010 by Doris de Pont, the museum records and shares the stories of the people, objects and images that have contributed to the development of New Zealand's unique fashion identity. It makes them visible and accessible to a broad audience through pop-up exhibitions, publications and the online museum.

New Zealand Fashion Museum exhibitions are not constrained by their ties to a building, yet embrace the traditional purpose of a museum, which is to develop social knowledge and encourage discussion about society, culture and how we express our identity through what we wear.

The cornerstone of the New Zealand Fashion Museum is its online museum. It brings together a record of the national collection of fashion objects which is held in public collections and in private homes, and is a resource of tremendous value for research as well as enjoyment.

About Doris de Pont

Doris de Pont is an award-winning fashion designer, cultural anthropologist, and founder of the New Zealand Fashion Museum. Her interest in the creativity of others, and her ability to work collectively, underpins her founding of the museum and her continued championing of New Zealand fashion. She has curated major fashion exhibitions including the award winning Home Sewn: Original New Zealand Fashion, the popular At the Beach and the seminal Black in Fashion: Wearing the colour black in New Zealand. She also regularly presents and writes about fashion history and trends. In 2013 she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to fashion.

About Dan Ahwa

Dan Ahwa is a respected fashion journalist. His styling experience includes print, digital and social campaigns, commercial projects, editorials, music videos and events. His written and styling work has been published in various local and international publications specialising in travel, culture, lifestyle, design and style. Dan is also the fashion and creative director for award-winning weekly magazines Viva and Canvas magazines, published by the New Zealand Herald. / @Danahwa

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