Matairangi Mahi Toi Artist Residency at Government House
Matairangi Mahi Toi
Established by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae, the honour of this sovereign residency is deeply valued and acknowledged. It is marked with mana and distinction as it supports the development of visual art and creative practice.
Matairangi is a prominent peak in the local area with an expansive vista of Wellington city and surrounding countryside. It has a rich heritage and history connected to the formation mythologies of Te Whanganui a Tara, Queen Victoria in the 1840’s and by 1910, Government House. Matairangi also refers to a hilltop lookout and vantage point. Nestled in sumptuous grounds, Government House is situated on the Matairangi, Mt Victoria ridgeline offering a contemplative place for reflection and creative thought.
The creative practice and artistic skills of the artist are pursued in the name of excellence. The vision of the artist is an expression of human dignity for us all to wonder and enjoy.
Ross Hemera, a retired Professor of Art and Design at Massey’s College of Creative Arts, was inaugural recipient of the residency.
The current artist in residence is Lindah Lepou.
Lindah is an award winning fashion designer who coined the term, ‘Pacific Couture’ and made it her mission to bridge the gap between entrenched ideas about Pasifika costume an the reality of what modern Pasifika design could be.
She works primarily with natural fibre – flax, coconut husks, sea shells and paua to create avant garde couture. She also describes herself as a lineage artist, telling stories about her own ancestors and being inspired by stories from her Scottish, English and Samoan history.
Lindah is best known for making one-off spectacular garments, two of which are in Te Papa’s collection. One a wedding dress worked in tapa cloth designed to be included in the 2011-12 exhibition: Unveiled – 200 Years of Wedding Fashion from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Lindah has also had a multimedia exhibition, Aitu: Homage to the Spirit, at City Gallery Wellington.
Lindah’s award winning Pacific couture silences the old debate over whether or not fashion is art.