Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Pahipoto, Ngāti Raukawa
The whakapapa of Karl Leonard is steeped in ngā mahi toi a te Māori and he is deeply connected to the weaving communities of Te Arawa, Rotorua and Ngāti Raukawa, Ōtaki.
His grandmothers, Piarimu Kereua Ngaheu and Ranginui Parewahawaha Teimana were both weavers. Karl’s life as a weaver was most strongly influenced by Ranginui who lived with his whanau and taught him to plait and weave pīngao into a continuous tipare strip as a child. Karl remembers his kuia weaving whāriki in her late 90s and she critiqued his third kete at the age of 112.
Karl is widely respected for the delicacy of his work in raranga and whatu, and an expert in the challenging art of tāniko. Mastery of these skills are required to create piupiu, and there is high demand for Karl’s piupiu, particularly among the highest-ranked kapa haka groups in Aotearoa.
Despite that acclaim, Karl’s passion lies with raranga harakeke and experimentation with the kete form, along with his constant return to tāniko poi and exploration of rare and original variations.
Recent exhibitions include:
Tiaho Mai, Kiwibank Paraparaumu
Te Ringa Māhorahora, Toi Matarau Gallery, Māoriland Film Hub, Ōtaki
Learn more: 2015 Waka Huia documentary