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Doing their part to preserve a legacy

Wednesday 15 October 2014 2:16pm

Koha-for-the-Crib-poster-imageTwo fourth-year design students are applying what they’ve learned in class to preserve, promote and celebrate the legacy of noted poet Hone Tuwhare.

The Hone Tuwhare Trust is in the process of establishing a new writers’ and artists’ residency at Kaka Point – the site of Tuwhare’s crib and former home in South Otago. The crib and purpose-built residency and studio will be the first established in the home of a Māori writer.

In addition to carrying out research into international and national creative residencies, Otago students Rebecca Elmslie and Michael Moeahu have designed, organised and run two participatory design workshops with key project stakeholders. The aim of the workshops is to enable stakeholders to contribute their own ideas and inform the types of residency offered.

Participatory design assumes that end users should play an active role in the design process. Dr Noel Waite of the Department of Applied Sciences says the pair has quickly assimilated the principles of participatory design and has been flexible and creative in the way they have responded to the stakeholders' needs.

“The personalised work-boxes they conceived for their second workshop were an innovative solution to facilitating a participatory design experience with geographically dispersed stakeholders.”

"We loved collaborating with Dr Waite and the other Hone Tuwhare Trust members and look forward to the residency’s potential."

For their part, Michael and Rebecca say the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a professional environment has been “hugely beneficial” and the feedback they’ve received from Trust members is encouraging.

“Hone Tuwhare is a significant figure in New Zealand's history and to be a part of ensuring his legacy remains in a residency for future generations is culturally significant,” says Rebecca. “To hear that our findings are contributing to the implementation of this residency is really exciting.”

“Being a key part of the process to identify, develop and recommend potential scenarios and outcomes has given us valuable experience and confidence,” says Michael. “We loved collaborating with Dr Waite and the other Hone Tuwhare Trust members and look forward to the residency’s potential.”

On Saturday evening, the Trust is hosting Koha for the Crib at Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum from 7-11pm. The event is designed to raise funds to support the new residency at Kaka Point.

Saturday night’s fundraiser will include a charity art auction as well as performances by musicians Don McGlashan, Rio Hemopo, Graham Downes, Martin Phillipps, David Kilgour, and Ciaran McMeekin, as well as poets Emma Neale, Majella Cullinane, Sue Wooton and Peter Olds. Tickets for the event are $60 (Email or available from UBS). Tickets include food from local sustainable sources and a complimentary drink.

Koha for the Crib caps off ‘Art and Book’/‘Against the Odds: The Editing, Design and Production of Books’ a three-day symposium jointly hosted by The Centre for the Book at Otago and the Dunedin School of Art.

"Like paintings and sculptures they have the status of cultural treasures. Books are the foundation of literate societies across the globe."

Co-organiser Dr Donald Kerr says the symposium, running 16-18 October, is an opportunity to celebrate the book in a range of artistic contexts.

“Books hold the history and culture of a society over time, formerly the preserve of revered orators and bards. But books are also artworks – from the clay tablets to parchments, from the paper and print, from the linguistic marks to the binding and decoration. Like paintings and sculptures they have the status of cultural treasures,” says Dr Kerr. “Books are the foundation of literate societies across the globe.”

This symposium is in support of Dunedin’s campaign to gain the status of a UNESCO Creative City of Literature in 2014. All symposium events are open to the public and are free of charge.

For further details on the symposium or on the Koha for the Crib fundraiser, visit

Koha for the Crib

Toitū Otago Settlers’ Museum
Sat 18 Oct, 7-11pm