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Waka Celebrations for Waitangi 2014

After successfully hosting the Kōkiri Pūtahi Gathering by the Te Atinga (Contemporary Maori Visual Arts) Committee of Toi Māori and Te Taitokerau Māori Artist’s Collective, 130 indigenous artists from Alaska, Canada, USA, Hawai’i, Samoa, Rarotonga and Aotearoa were literally ‘carving up a storm.’

They wove ‘threads of friendships,’ ‘sculpturing and molding’ those relationships into clay, to be ‘tempered by the heat and energy’ of the gathering, allowing them to ‘imprint and paint’ our stories ‘etched’ into time immemorial at Kohewhata Marae in Kaikohe over a two week intensive period of art making.

The ‘jewel in the crown’ was exhibiting at the Ngāpuhi Festival attended by 40,000 people to marvel and gaze at the works created by the artists, uplifting and supporting our people in the Taitokerau district.

We return once again to the waters of Te Pewhairangi in the Bay of Islands hosting ceremonial waka of all designs from around the country, along with international guests; Suquamish Representatives from Seattle and Dutch Representatives from Leiden, Netherlands.

Toi Maori’s Nga Waka Federation has been involved with cultural waka art form exchanges with the Native Americans over the last 5 years at their Tribal Canoe Journeys. It will continue into the future as waka have a very positve effect on both cultures; physically, mentally and spiritually. There’s now discussion and dialouge from the Kōkiri Putahi Gathering about collaborating to build waka on both shores incorporating designs and motifs of the collaborative arts. Who knows what the future will hold for us as indigenous people?

The Dutch from the Njord Royal Rowing Club in Leiden are also participating at this years event. They along with the Museum Volkenkunde are the kaitiaki for the international waka taua Te Hono ki Aotearoa. The intention of the ceremonial waka taua is to use it as a vehicle to promote the arts, culture, country and its people in any important events in Europe deemed appropriate. The waka last participated at the Queens Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in June 2012 2


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