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Te Papa to display extraordinary artworks destined for UN

Te Papa to display extraordinary New Zealand artworks destined for the United Nations

Visitors to Te Papa will have a rare opportunity to experience a unique exhibition of tukutuku panels reflecting New Zealand stories, values and traditions, before they are installed at the United Nations’ Headquarters in New York.

The panels in Kāhui Rāranga The Art of Tukutuku: New Zealand’s Heart at the United Nations bring together the art of traditional Māori weaving with contemporary New Zealand designs. They have been created by talented weavers from across the country; all members of Te Rōpū Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (National Collective of Māori Weavers in New Zealand).

The panels will enhance the New Zealand wall at the entrance to the UN’s General Assembly Hall, as part of a wider refurbishment of UN Headquarters. The Minister of Māori Affairs, Hon Pita Sharples, is behind the tukutuku project, which will soon allow an international audience to explore works representing a unique cultural heritage.

Te Papa’s Acting Chief Executive and Kaihautū, Arapata Hakiwai, says “The art of tukutuku is highly valued amongst Māori and an important taonga (treasure) for all New Zealanders. Decorated tukutuku panels adorn many meeting houses throughout the country, conveying important relationships of the people and the world around us. These stories will now resonate beyond our own shores, reaching hundreds of thousands of people every year.”

“Thanks to a partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Māori Development) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealanders now have the rare opportunity to view the panels before they are sent to New York. They will soon carry our unique Aotearoa, New Zealand identity in a gathering place for all nations,” says Mr Hakiwai. In New York, the tukutuku panels will form part of the backdrop to the international media briefing area immediately outside the UN General Assembly Hall.

The curator leading the exhibition at Te Papa, Matiu Baker, says “These beautiful works will stand as a powerful statement to New Zealand’s unique cultural identity. They will be encountered and appreciated by some of the world’s most influential leaders. I think New Zealanders will take pride in knowing that our cultural icons, our values, and our stories will become a part of the United Nations’ story. They really will become our heart at the United Nations.”

Minister Sharples will join the weavers of the panels at the launch of the exhibition Kāhui Rāranga The Art of Tukutuku: New Zealand’s Heart at the United Nations at Te Papa on the morning of Tuesday 8 July 2014.

Kāhui Rāranga The Art of Tukutuku: New Zealand’s Heart at the United Nations
8 July - 2 November 2014
Te Ihomatua | Gallery on Level 4, Te Papa
Free entry


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