Ko Wharenui Harikoa he poro whaka hakoko
Ko Uenuku tawhana ki te Rangi

Wharenui Harikoa is a refracting prism of Tūpuna inspired light that shines across the sky like a rainbow

Over the past eight years, husband and wife duo, Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole, have been using their creative energies to explore mātauranga Māori and their personal whakapapa through crocheted sculptural forms.

Bringing together bright, neon colours and traditional toi whakairo shapes, their mahi offers a new way of understanding the importance of joy and aroha within te aō Māori. 

Lissy and Rudi have recently embarked on a journey to create Wharenui Harikoa (House of Joy), a whare imbued with their love of craft, kōrero and whānau. The whare will be their most ambitious creation to date, built to almost full scale and featuring a number of poupou, tekoteko, tukutuku panels and adorned pou tokomanawa. 

At Objectspace, the pieces completed to date for Wharenui Harikoa will be on display, giving visitors the opportunity to see Lissy and Rudi’s unique vision and learn more about Wharenui Harikoa as it is created.

Lissy and Rudi will offer an insight into what they have achieved so far and share in the making of Wharenui Harikoa, the kaupapa of the wharenui and the mātauranga that has guided the design and construction so far.

Wharenui Harikoa will be shown at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt later this year. The completed wharenui will be launched at Matariki 2023 and will journey around Aotearoa.

As part of Wharenui Harikoa at Objectspace join us for: 

5pm—8pm, Thursday 26 May, Wharenui Harikoa Late Night

2pm, Friday 27 May, Sharing the kaupapa: Artist talk with Lissy and Rudi

3pm—5pm, Friday 27 May, Movement for Harikoa

11am—12.30pm, Saturday 28 May, Knitting and Crochet for Beginners

Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu)

Rudi Robinson (Ngāti Paoa, Ngaruahine, Ngāti Makirangi, Ngāti Tu)

Artists Lissy Robinson-Cole and Rudi Robinson share a practice grounded in one central kaupapa, to transform intergenerational trauma into deeply felt joy, one loop at a time. Connecting all people and igniting joy globally. 

Through the magic of the crochet hook, they have infused and connected whakapapa (geneaology), wairua (spirit) and experiences as Māori and Pakeha into their unique mahi toi (art works). Their practice has extended to create a world which holds space for taonga (treasures), stories and understanding of a collective Indigenous consciousness. 

“As Indigenous people we are in the stream of our wairua being carried by our Tūpuna in a way that is connecting us together and to our world around us. We invite you on our journey of creating Wharenui Harikoa (House of Joy) in which we welcome you to enter, to share breath, life, colour, vibrancy, hope, joy but mostly aroha (love).”

Wharenui Harikoa at Objectspace is supported by the Local Activation Fund Programme, administered by Tataki Auckland Unlimited on behalf of the New Zealand Government, and our generous sponsors: 

All above: Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole, Wharenui Harikoa, ongoing.

Lissy & Rudi Robinson-Cole, Rawhiera (left) and Kapariera (right), 2021. All photographs by Samuel Hartnett.