Te Rau-o-te-Huia ~ The Treasured Possession of Te Huia

Te Rau-o-te-Huia ~ The Treasured Possession of Te Huia

Aimee Gruar | 11 - 16 June

The Poi Room

37 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn

This exhibition celebrates love, remembrance and the beauty of the iconic Huia bird, particularly its unique tail feathers. Join us for a look at this special showcase, the first exhibition at our gorgeous Ponsonby location!

Gruar's art pieces, intricately crafted from vintage fabric sourced through second-hand suppliers, aim to encourage viewers to reflect on their impact on the natural world and the importance of sustainable practices. By focusing on remembrance, she not only preserves the memory of the Huia but also offers a powerful commentary on the interconnectedness of cultural heritage and ecological responsibility.
Aimee Gruar at home
Above, left: Aimee at home; right: 'Bloodlines' work in progress
'Stop' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Come to an end, cease to happen.
An acknowledgement of the importance of ending situations that no longer serve us well, and a call for peace on earth.
Black cotton fabric and calico tips sourced from an op shop, with words and a broken heart on the tips.
'Guiding Light' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Guiding Light
A source of inspiration, something or someone that has influence over others.
Black cotton cut from trousers found in an opshop.
The tips are reflective vinyl offcuts, saved from the bin where my road signs are manufactured.
May this piece inspire, and influence others to protect our natural environment.
'Spreading the Love' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Spreading the Love
This piece symbolizes the need to embrace love and kindness, while rejecting hatred and greed - especially as the world navigates these turbulent times.
12 is a number that features regularly in our every day lives, and it is also the number of tail feathers that the Huia bird had.
Here there are 6 male, and 6 female Huia, created with LP records, each possessing a heart cut from paint sample card and cotton thread.
'Reconsideration' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room


The act of considering something again, especially with a view to changing or reversing.
Shot gold fabric was originally a shirt sourced from an opshop in Dominion Rd, with needlework tips that once edged a tablecloth.
'Priceless' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
So precious that its value cannot be determined.
Vintage gold material from a dress bought on Trademe, with needlework tips from table napkins.
Symbolising how incredibly precious our native flora and fauna is, and the need to protect what is vulnerable.
'Bloodlines' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Red shot silk fabric with needle work tips and extended cotton thread.
Symbolizing heritage, ancestry, and the numerous ways we are all connected.
'Re-evaluation' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
To evaluate something for a second time- especially with regard to changes or new information.
Symbolic of the lack of value placed on protecting the Huia when it was endangered, vs the record breaking prices now being paid for one of their single tail feather- $46,521 at Webb’s Auction House in May 2024
Black cotton fabric and vintage needlework sourced from charity shops.
'Retrospection' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Looking back, reviewing past events.
Would more have been done in 1907 if it was known then that the Huia would soon be gone forever?
This retro canvas was sourced from a Hospice shop in Warkworth that I visit regularly on my way to Pakiri. It was once a blind. Needlework tips from a roll of trim found in a charity shop.
'Recognition' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
'The Sound of Silence' by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
The Sound of Silence
Representing our inability to communicate effectively with each other at times, and also a statement about the Huia’s call being silenced forever.
Black cotton with vintage lace trim.
'X marks the spot' crossed feathers by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Shop the collection by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
'X marks the spot' crossed feathers by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
X marks the spot- a sign of something or someone being in an exact spot or the perfect location. Often depicting the presence of hidden treasure.
These Huia Feathers are made with fabric that once formed neck ties, and needle work from table settings sourced from second hand suppliers.
The wearing of neck ties provides no practical purpose, but they are said to symbolize dignity, decorum, elegance, and respect…?
'X marks the spot' crossed feathers by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
"Huia were not great flyers, and they generally moved along the ground with bounds or jumps. They were not seen flying above tree-tops like other birds.
I believe this would have made them even more vulnerable to hunting. In my work, I have given them strong wings so they may now fly freely." Aimee Gruar
'Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda', 'What If?' and 'Final Flight', by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda and What If? (left) Final Flight (right)

A male and female Huia cut from LP records, flying across maps of Kapiti Island and Little Barrier (Hauturu).
Due to their dwindling numbers, in the late 1800’s, the Wild Birds Protection Act was extended to include Huia and a ban was placed on killing any more. Fines that were enforced for ignoring this ban were less than the price their bodies could fetch, so there certainly wasn’t much of a deterrent.
Recommendations were made to set up island reserves to protect endangered native birds. Unfortunately for the Huia, it was too little, too late, and the new bird sanctuaries set up on Kapiti Island and Little Barrier(Hauturu), were never stocked with Huia.
These works reflect on what could have happened, if these recommendations were implemented sooner, and their lives were more valued.

Final Flight

1 female and 2 male Huia cut from LP records, over a map of the Tararua ranges.
The last official sighting of Huia was of 2 males, and one female, in the Tararua Ranges, on December 28th 1907.
This work represents that day.


Single framed Huia feather artworks by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room
Shope the exhibition by Aimee Gruar at The Poi Room