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Māori and First Nation artists to meet in Rocky Mountains

Wellington-based Māori artist Hinekaa Mako (Taranaki Whānui, Whanganui nui tonu) heads to Canada’s Rocky Mountains this month, to exchange skills and knowledge with other First Nation artists attending the Indigenous Storytellers Spoken Word Residency.

In a joint initiative with Creative New Zealand, Canada’s Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity provides annual opportunities for Māori artists to participate in its indigenous arts residency programmes. The Banff Centre is renowned for commissioning, supporting and producing new creative works.

The Indigenous Storytellers Spoken Word Residency invites participants to push the parameters of traditional storytelling, and immerse themselves in writing practices that are in-depth and involve visual, research and meditative exploration, and also to learn from local elders and faculty members.

“For my residency project, I will focus on how to elevate global concerns for our changing climate by sharing stories within the Māori language and cultural mythology matrix. I plan to craft a contemporary Māori language narrative poem within the framework of Karanga, the classical ceremonial oratory performed exclusively by Māori women,” Hinekaa says.

A scriptwriter and poet, Hinekaa also works with the Climate Change - Iwi Leaders Group. She has spoken on climate change nationally and internationally, most recently as part of the New Zealand Delegation to COP24 - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland (2018).

“I’ve been waiting for the right time, and the place to begin a new phase of sharing stories, and start pushing the parameters of my tradition of storytelling into the light of a new day. It is exciting and an honour to be part of this residency at Banff with a collective of indigenous storytellers,” she says.

The residency runs from 3-24 March 2019 and provides a unique opportunity for Māori artists to develop international engagement practices and build relationships with other First Nation artists. The experience is intended to help attendees articulate their practice as exponents of Ngā Toi Māori within a global context, and strengthen networks and partnerships to support future international activity.

The residency is part of Creative New Zealand’s Cultural & Art Form Exchange Programme, which works with Mana Whenua and other First Nations communities to increase the visibility and understanding of how First Nations’ histories influence contemporary artistic expression. The programme supports residencies where diverse and dynamic interactions help to develop innovative arts practice, identify new markets and further international cultural links.

About the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Founded in 1933, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organisation built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organisation leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From its home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains in Banff, Alberta the centre aims to inspire everyone who attends its campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential. The centre’s goal is to contribute to the development of strong and vibrant indigenous arts communities around the world, by providing opportunities for indigenous artists – writers, musicians, dancers and choreographers, visual, new media artists, and others – to research, conceive, and produce work with cultural integrity and artistic merit.

You can read more about the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity on their website.

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