Whakapapa through portraiture – Taaniko Nordstrom talks to RNZ

Taaniko and Vienna Nordstrom
Taaniko and Vienna Nordstrom of Soldiers Rd ... cultural identity and whakapapa through portraiture. Image: RNZ/Taaniko and Vienna Nordstrom

By RNZ Saturday Morning

Former Air New Zealand cabin attendant Taaniko Nordstrom, and her sister-in-law Vienna Nordstrom, are the creative duo behind Soldiers Rd Portraits, a photography-based business they set up together in 2011.

Based in Cambridge, they dress their customers in Māori, Pasifika, Native American and First Nations’ clothing and then photograph them to create a vintage-style portrait.

Soldiers Rd have taken this idea overseas to Australia, the US, Europe and India, and in 2016 started a project called Behind the Wire – Rangatahi ki Rangatira.

LISTEN: Presenter Julian Willcox talks to Taaniko Nordstrom

This social enterprise involves them taking portraits of inmates at the Te Ao Mārama Māori Focus Unit at Waikeria Prison in the Waikato as a means of re-connecting them with their cultural identity and whakapapa through portraiture.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

Bobbi-Jo, Dyllan-Rae and Paige-Tayla
Bobbi-Jo, Dyllan-Rae and Paige-Tayla, from Ngai Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu.
Māmā Pania
Māmā Pania.
Wahine toa Māmā Khamil
Wahine toa Māmā Khamil, with her Tamariki.
Puhi from Nga Puhi
Puhi from Nga Puhi
Taaniko at Grand Central, NYC
Taaniko at Grand Central, NYC
Coco at Ruapuke
Coco at Ruapuke.
Eden-Rose Nordstrom
Eden-Rose Nordstrom representing all her cultures – Māori, Samoan and European.
A beautiful Filipino/Māori blended whanau
Vienna Nordstrom
Vienna Nordstrom, co creator and photographer for Soldiers Rd (Ngati Porou and Samoan).
Taaniko Nordstrom
Taaniko Nordstrom, co-creator and stylist for Soldiers Rd (Ngati Hine, Ngati Kahungunu, Waikato-Tainui).
Siblings, Ashleigh and Ethan
Siblings Ashleigh and Ethan (Ngati Toa).
Zjanna Marsh
Zjanna Marsh (Te URI O Tai, Te Aupouri/Te Rarawa. Ngati Rangi/Ngati Hou, Nga Puhi. Croatian, Scottish, French).
Wineera Te Kanae Davey
Wineera Te Kanae Davey (Ngati Toa, Ngāti Porou, Ngati Mahuta).
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