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Art: The Heart and Soul of Te Uru Taumatua

Press release December 2013:

Art: The Heart and Soul of Te Uru Taumatua

Six Tuhoe artists commissioned to produce new artworks for Te Uru Taumatua, Tuhoe’s new HQ and New Zealand’s first Living Building

As work nears completion on Te Uru Taumatua, six Tuhoe artists are creating artworks for Tuhoe’s new state-of-the-art headquarters in Taneatua.

The building, designed by Auckland architects Jasmax and built by innovative New Zealand construction company Arrow International, sets new standards for both seismic and environmental practices. When completed it will be New Zealand’s first accredited ‘Living Building’.

Tamati Kruger, chairman of Tuhoe, says the building reflects Tuhoe’s beliefs for its own and for New Zealand’s future. Like Tuhoe, it challenges the way things have been done and puts a mark in the ground for future possibilities.

Reflecting those desires, six up-and-coming, mixed-medium Tuhoe artists have been asked to produce art for the new building. Just as the building marks a new beginning for Tuhoe, the art will reflect what it means to be Tuhoe today, says Kruger. “We have many marae and our traditional art is safe and represented throughout our rohe (region) so we didn’t want to replicate that on this building. We wanted a fresh and new look, so we’ve asked six younger Tuhoe artists to use their mediums to show us what it means to them to be Tuhoe today.”

Kirsti Luke, Tuhoe’s chief executive, says Tuhoe are a diverse people with a range of tastes and preferences, so the brief was understandably wide. “We deliberately found a group of artists who represent themselves differently through their artwork so we could create a space in our building that is subtly and silently welcoming to all the different kinds of Tuhoe people. They are not the average because we recognise we need to learn more about our differences, to reflect what it means to be Tuhoe today and to help us build a better future for our people.”

Art has always been an important part of the building’s design, says Ivan Mercep, Jasmax co-founder and project lead architect. “Right at the beginning when we talked to Tuhoe about their hopes and aspirations for this building we realised that central to the design was Tuhoe itself. The commissioned art works will add the heart and the soul to this build and will hopefully encapsulate the true breadth of everything that Tuhoe is and can be.”

The six artists commissioned $250 000 in total for this project are Carly Rangiaho, Hewirori Maynard, Saffron Te Ratana, Kylie Tiuka, Maraea Timutimu. Their work will be on display in the main tribal chamber of the building along with “I am Tuhoe” by Colin McCahon.


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