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Patiki tribute to master weaver and artist

21 July 2005

A beautifully crafted community artwork composed of over 100 ceramic Pātiki or flounders - Moeka o te Pātiki Mohoao (Sleeping Ground of the Flounder) – will celebrate and remember late master weaver and artist, Cath Brown.

The artwork, to be shown at Our City O-Tautahi from Tuesday, 9 August, to Friday, 2 September, was made during a July workshop by whanau and people who knew or had worked with Cath. Each person made their own pātiki. The work remembers her major contribution to reviving the cultural source and skill base of Maori arts and craft.

Cath Brown was not only a weaver as she worked in ceramics and combined different media in her own inimitable way. She was a former Christchurch College of Education teacher and a Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology administrator who promoted creativity in the community through marae in workshops and organisations like Nga Puna Waihanga and Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa. 

The Pātiki theme was chosen for its association with Cath’s Taumutu heritage and her links with Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) which boasts several species of Pātaki and is a very important mahinga kai (food gathering place) for local Maori. The diamond fish shape occurs right throughout Maori art as a symbol for hospitality, and the ability to provide food and good weather. 

Cath’s colleague, Colleen Waata Urlich - a Nga Puhi ceramic artist – was the workshop tutor. Patricia Wallace, who worked with Cath in Nga Puna Waihanga, and came up with the concept for the artwork, says: “Thinking of Cath as a teacher of art … I liked the idea of creating Pātiki to incorporate the concept of art as a form of food for the soul ... We are, in a sense, feeding her memory and spirit.”

Our City O-Tautahi is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Boulevard.

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