The Tapestry Trust Project’s aim is to record New Zealand’s history in a series of embroidered panels. This major project will take some 20-30 years, involving communities around New Zealand.
The Trust was inaugurated in February 2010 with the vision of a NZ tapestry that, with time, might become the equivalent of The Bayeux Tapestry. The History Department of Otago University have provided a list of original themes, which have been added too, with suggestions from individuals and groups. It is hoped to have over 90 panels in the finished display. The Otago Settlers Museum has offered to hold completed panels until a suitable place is found for their display. Eventually they will have a home in Dunedin.
Woolen Mills had closed down throughout NZ, but, fortunately a small Wool Mill was tracked down in Lower Hutt (Stansborough ), who wove the special New Zealand wool for the panels. Appleton wool was donated by Otago Embroiderers; Guild and supplemented by locally made Strand Threads.
The original panel was designed in Dunedin but, after consultation with Alan La Roche, was adapted to reflect the authenticity of the information portrayed. Our panel depicts the ships that brought Fencibles to New Zealand and created the settlement of Howick. The ships are “Sir George Seymour”, “Minerva”, and “Sir Robert Sale”, all who arrived at Howick Beach in the 1800s.
It also features typical cottages at the time of settlement and accommodation for the militia. Tui were plentiful in the region at the time.
So far more than 20 panels have been completed and framed, including a panel done by members of the East Auckland Embroidery Guild. The panel completed is “Howick Colonial Village and the Fencibles”.
This panel was largely worked on a frame set up at the Howick Historic Village. This was a central venue accessible to all members, and also for members of the public to view, as it was being stitched. The completed size of the panel is 100cm x 66cm.
28 members of the East Auckland Embroiderers’ Guild stitched on the panel during the time it took to complete. Planning started in 2017 but stitching the panel began in 2018 and it was finished in 2020