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Te Waka Toi supports giant pou for America’s Cup

Te Waka Toi supports giant pou for America’s Cup

A group of Hamilton carvers planning to carve a giant kauri pou, to be displayed at the Viaduct Basin in Auckland during the final stages of the America’s Cup regatta, have been offered a $30,000 grant from Te Waka Toi, the Maori arts board of Creative New Zealand. The project will be led by tohunga whakairo Wikuki Kingi with carvers from Te Ranga Carving School of Kirikiriroa Marae in Hamilton. The pou is expected to be 25 metres high and three metres in girth.

“We want to create a large, significant Maori taonga to show the world our cultural heritage in a positive and powerful way,” Mr Kingi said.

A grandson of Inia Te Wiata with more than 30 years experience of carving, Mr Kingi has previously created with others a 19-metre-tall pou, now standing at Hopuhopu Endowment College in Ngaruawahia.

Carvings on the pou will relate mainly to Maori and Polynesian nautical history and legends. The project is supported by Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and other marae trustees.

In this latest funding round, Te Waka Toi received 95 applications seeking more than $2.2 million. In the end, Te Waka Toi offered grants to 50 projects totalling $701,018 across Te Waka Toi’s five funding programmes: New Work, Experiencing Maori Arts, Heritage Arts, Te Reo and Indigenous Links.

Announcing the grants, Chair Elizabeth Ellis said that Te Waka Toi’s support for heritage arts was vital.

“As well as helping to protect and promote the heritage of Maori arts and language, Te Waka Toi is keen to showcase our unique art to the world,” she said. “This is an exciting project that will capture the imagination of both New Zealanders and overseas visitors during the America’s Cup.”

Maori arts will also be showcased offshore with Te Waka Toi support. In November, the city council of Basauri in the Basque region of Spain is hosting a display of Maori art and performance. This will involve Lower Hutt weaving group Te Roopu Awhi Rito, a Northland Maori artist with Basque ancestry Bethany Edmunds, and Maori artists and performers from London.

A group of Maori language teachers and others from Tokomaru Bay will travel to Rapanui (Easter Island) to support the revitalisation of the language and artforms there. They will also demonstrate waiata, haka, poi, mahi toi and purakau practices with the support of a $30,000 grant from Te Waka Toi. And an exhibition of live Maori art and culture, focussing particularly on Ta moko, will be shown in Amsterdam, Holland by Gordon Toi Hatfield in association with Dutch/Indonesian photographer Patricia Steur.

The exhibition, with the support of a $25,000 grant from Te Waka Toi, will open in November and involve 17 people in the practice of Ta moko, mau rakau, carving and weaving. It follows five previous successful exhibitions on Ta moko in Holland, also created by Hatfield and Steur.

“Exhibitions such as these raise the international profile of Maori and New Zealand, showing others how our traditional arts are being developed and practised,” Ms Ellis said.

In making its decisions, she said, Te Waka Toi tried to ensure a balance of artforms, iwi and gender. Along with professional arts, it was careful to ensure that flaxroots initiatives were supported.

In this round, these flaxroots initiatives included marae-based weaving wananga in Matamata (a $14,000 grant) and Wairoa (a $10,000 grant); a wananga for emerging artists in Hastings (a $6500 grant); and support for various carving and decorative art projects, exhibitions, festivals, music productions, hui and wananga celebrating and enhance tribal history and traditions.

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