Embroidery project covers country

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Southland Embroidery Guild members (from left) Pam Clay, Elaine Little and Erin Streeter work on a panel, one of 100 nationwide to be stitched into a huge tapestry depicting New Zealand's history.

THE wreck of the SS Tararua, whaling, Southland industries and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi at Ruapuke Island will feature in a nationwide embroidery project depicting the history of New Zealand in 100 panels.

Giving the impression of a mini Bayeux Tapestry, Southland Embroidery Guild members have been stitching away for weeks and hoped to have their assigned panel finished by the end of this monthguild member Elaine Little said.

Under the Tapestry Trust of New Zealand umbrella, more than 50 guilds nationwide have been working on the project for about six years.

The project was the brainchild of the late Fred Haslam, of Dunedin, who had been inspired after seeing a display in Geraldine about the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which commemorated the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Each panel measures 100cm by 67cm, with sketches by University of Otago designers Alex Gilks and Michael Findlay.

Throughout the past two months in Invercargill, various embroiderers had been busy at the Southland Museum & Art Gallery, Pop-up Art Gallery in Don St and various other places, colouring in the drawings with vibrant threads to create an artwork which looked similar to a Nigel Brown canvas.

“The public are more than welcome to put some stitches on it as well,” Mrs Little said.

Once completed, the panel will go to Dunedin to feature in a purpose-appointed building, which will eventually house the 100 combined panels from throughout New Zealand on a specially woven background made by a Wellington firm.

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