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Māori exhibition showcased to the world

7 August, 2014

Māori exhibition showcased to the world

The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute’s (NZMACI) Tuku Iho Exhibition continues its mission to inform and engage cultures around the world, with the exhibition opening on 8 August in the state of Penang, Malaysia. The exhibition’s opening is particularly timely with the 20th anniversary of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples has been observed on 9 August every year for the past 20 years. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

NZMACI Director, Karl Johnstone, says Tuku Iho, the Living Legacy, will commence with a special opening ceremony and run until 15 September and is part of Penang’s hugely popular George Town Festival - a month-long festival of arts and culture.

“The exhibition also coincidentally falls at the same time as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The timing of this with our kaupapa (programme) and the cross-cultural engagement with Malaysia, which has such a broad cultural diversity, is a perfect way to celebrate the day.

“The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is a chance to pay homage to indigenous communities around the world while promoting and protecting their rights.

“Tuku Iho is a tribute to our Māori culture, unique to Aotearoa (New Zealand), and a way to extend our indigenous roots to those around the globe. It also helps NZMACI and Te Puia perpetuate and promote our culture and allows us to increase wider awareness of our stories, values and traditions; it is core to our mandate and the work we do.”

Tuku Iho includes art works using wood, pounamu (greenstone), bone, stone, bronze and flax mediums. NZMACI representatives will also be interacting with the arts community and visitors, providing insights about Māori culture and connecting the art to the people it comes from.

Mr Johnstone says Tuku Iho represents the passing down of knowledge to preserve cultural legacy and heritage and is primarily about building and nurturing relationships between cultures.

“We will also be running workshops following the opening of the exhibition on the making and use of traditional Māori weaponry. We are constantly looking to stretch the boundaries even further to engage people in our culture in new and innovative ways.”

The exhibition is scheduled to go to Brunei, as its last destination in Southeast Asia, before heading to South America. It is scheduled to open at the cultural centre, Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (the GAM), in Santiago, Chile in March 2015.

Located at Rotorua’s Te Puia, NZMACI is a national organisation responsible for the protection, promotion and perpetuation of Māori arts, crafts and culture. Alongside its many interests, the institute runs the national schools of wood carving, pounamu, stone and bone carving, weaving and waka (canoe) building.


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