Auckland husband and wife show off world-first life-size crochet wharenui progress

Source: 1News

An Auckland husband and wife duo are showing off a sneak peek of their world-first life-size crochet wharenui, an art installation idea which had been in their imagination for years.

Lissy Cole and Rudi Robinson-Cole's artwork has been inspired by Māori design and created to help people understand mātauranga Māori, or Māori knowledge.

But this time the couple have pushed the boat out after receiving funding from Creative New Zealand to construct what is believed to be a world-first life-sized crochet wharenui, which is a main building of a marae.

This morning, they shared the first sneak peek into the progress of the project.

So far they have two amo, the vertical supports which hold up the structure and are seen at the front of the whare.

Rudi told TVNZ1's Breakfast hundreds of hours went into the two pieces, with the entire project expected to take two-and-a-half years.

But Lissy added that the duo will be collaborating with local and international artists on the artwork.

"We want as many Māori as possible, and as many people, touching and being involved in our work and in this project in particular," she said.

"We all need joy in our lives and the wharenui is going to be, I guess, the largest expression of this aroha that we have for all of humanity - Māori especially because that's who we are, but also all of humanity. 

"We see this wharenui travelling all throughout Aotearoa then all throughout the world really."

Lissy said she thinks her interest in crochet was sparked about two-and-a-half years ago after seeing work from a US yarn-bomber.

"I really sort of fell into crocheting. I don't actually remember when or what drove me to go by a hook and yarn, but I've always been creative and I must have seen something online that captured my imagination."

Then it didn't take long for Rudi to join in on his wife's passion.

"I had to come on because we're doing a lot of community projects, working with our rangatahi and we have our kaupapa working in the prisons as well, so we're very busy and I think I'm just so blessed and humbled to do mahi with my wife," he said.

Lissy and Rudi will be showcasing more of their work at Fresh Gallery in Ōtara, which opens from 10.30am tomorrow.