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Maori Art Meets America

Monday 8th August 2005

An overwhelming response from the American people

Interest in the Maori Art Meets America event has already exceeded expectation, Toi Maori General Manager Garry Nicholas said today.

Maori Art Meets America is a joint project between Toi Maori Aotearoa and Tourism New Zealand with major support from Air New Zealand and includes an exhibition Toi Maori: Art from the Maori people of New Zealand, waka demonstrations and Kapa Haka performances.

Mr Nicholas said Toi Maori had expected between 10 and 15,000 people in total to visit the exhibition.

"But at the end of the first weekend, we now expect that number to be higher. Already nearly 7000 people have come through the exhibition since it opened on Friday afternoon. On top of that about 2000 people have watched the waka demonstrations and around 2500 have watched the daily shows by Kapa Haka group Te Puia, from Rotorua. Positive media coverage has helped boost numbers. Sunday's 'Pink Pages' the weekly arts and entertainment guide in the San Francisco Chronicle featured a three page cover story on Maori art.

"What is even more heartening is the reaction we are getting from the people of San Francisco. They have truly embraced our work and are taking the opportunity to talk to the artists about their art and about New Zealand.

"Artists are demonstrating weaving, ta moko, carving, clay work, and taonga püoro (traditional musical instruments). They are doing a fantastic job.

"Already we can say that the project has been a success on many levels," Mr Nicholas said.

The waka demonstrations have now finished and the team is on its way home. Te Puia has more shows programmed this week and the exhibition closes next Sunday. Note: San Francisco is 19 hours behind New Zealand.


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