The Wedding Gowns are being modelled by three sisters of the Paul Whanau, Honey, Roka and Macauley. The Wedding Gowns are being modelled by three sisters of the Paul Whanau, Honey, Roka and Macauley. CREDIT: Anne Shirley

Something old, something new...

Friday 27 February 2015, 2:10PM
By Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology


Donna Dinsdale, Bachelor of Creative Industries tutor at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, has just presented her final Body of Work submission as part of her Masters in Art and Design with AUT University.

Her work was aptly titled Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something True… An Exploration of Wedding Attire through a Personal Bi-Cultural Sensibility.

The aim of her practice-based research project is to explore how a personal bi-cultural viewpoint can be expressed through wedding attire as cultural artifacts. Seeking to address the appropriate means into which a non-Māori designer within Aotearoa can incorporate references from Māori culture in an appropriate and respectful manner into their practice.

Donna explains: “The body of work presented is comprised of three wedding gowns which are supported by complementary wedding attire. The work outlines the exploration of cultural and personal values from an individual bi-cultural viewpoint, within the limitations of a contemporary New Zealand fashion design aesthetic.”

“I have been extremely fortunate and humbled to have been given endorsement from the Tapuika Iwi Authority to use inspiration from Māori designs and artefacts from Tia Marae. This process has been a true collaboration within our community; there has been many wonderful opportunities that has included input through consultation from iwi which has enriched the research project on all levels.”

Donna has also been gifted many precious textile artefacts and sources of inspiration from family, friends and whanau that have been utilised within the final garments. This supports the project direction that the wedding attire communicates memories, sentiment and personal attachment that sheds light on the emotional and personal value of the wedding gowns as cultural artefacts.

“Within the framework of education, I hope this research project will increase my contribution as a fashion design tutor for numerous reasons. There are many levels of inquiry within the theoretical and practical elements of the project that can be implemented to support student learning. I have experienced within my teaching that students require individual nurturing and encouragement to be able to create their own fashion language through drawing upon personal cultural backgrounds and life experiences.”

Donna would like to share with the wider community the final Body of Work with a static exhibition which will be held for one day only at St Pauls Anglican Church on Rangiuru Road, Te Puke between 11.00am and 4.00pm this Friday, 27 February (approx. 0.8 kilometres up Rangiuru Road, on the left hand side). Gold coin donation appreciated, all proceeds to be donated to the Anglican Church committee.