skip to main content
Exhibitions | Galleries | Studios | Street Art | Art in Public Places | Ōtautahi Christchurch and Canterbury
Main Image.

In collaboration with Dilana and design director Sudi  Dargipour, artist Reuben Paterson (Ngati Rangitihi, NgāiTūhoe, Tūhourangi), has embarked on a series of rugs that he describes as ‘bridging the sea, the living land and the sky, everything we traverse and everything in Māori terms, Whakapapa back to the primeval parents of Ranginui the sky father and Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother.’

The project began in August 2017 with Dargipour proposition of a limited series of hand-tufted rugs.   From that initial discussion, Ko Te Aroha Anō, (Love is like Water) was realised.  Her first pick for the collection was the Kōwhaiwhai design from his 2002 Pataka Art Museum  exhibition. ‘He responded to my request in a way that opened up a new chapter in our collaboration.  He found a way to present this design that didn’t make him uncomfortable about the rug being stepped on.  He has hidden the Koru under the carving line.’

Paterson’s rugs with Dilana also possess the trademark glitter of his paintings, which accounts for the project’s two year of research and development.

Fundamental to Paterson’s iconography are its conversations between the figurative and abstract, Kōwhaiwhai being a representation of nature and pathway to symbolic and allegorical readings.  Paterson says:  ‘Kōwhaiwhai take us on a visual journey where their own genealogy of swirling curls, come to represent short journeys. These expeditions are literal, spiritual and metaphorical excursions between all parts of the meetinghouse, reinforcing the intimate genealogical and holistic relationship between humankind and our environment.’

Dargipour says that Ko Te Aroha Anō, (Love is like Water)there are two different Kōwhaiwhai, the mangopare (hammer head) and mango tipi (white pointer) sharks and Reuben has used the colours selected for the work as a way to Whakapapa the design back to its origins, to the blue and greens of the sea.’

‘I worked with Reuben on Ikarangi during lockdown to get the design perfect.  Ikarangi translates as galaxy, with a focus on the Milky Way and The Magellanic Clouds.  Paterson observes:  ‘My deeper connection to Christchurch began with SCAPE in 2004 andWhakatata mai: do you see what I see? I reflected upon Riccarton House as a landscape, where the gables of the homestead became the maunga of the land to source Māori identity which is often hidden, but resides within her.’

‘Māori history is not recorded in the same way our European history is and for me those fluctuations of optical art do their part to express an energy contained in the land by Māori occupation. This rug is the “burn-back” revealing what lies beneath, glowing red upon this singed surface, delicate poppies flower, hovering over the optical surface as Magellanic Clouds.’



Rugs by Reuben Paterson available from

Dilana, 102 Buchan Street, Sydenham, Christchurch

Monday to Friday 9 – 5pm


  1. Rueben Paterson, Ikarangi, 2020, hand knotted in wool, viscose and lurex, 1 x 3 metres

Reuben Paterson at Dilana

+ Text Size -