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Tukutuku: Aotearoa NZ’s Heart at the United Nations

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Māori Affairs

Tuesday 1 July 2014 Press Release

Kāhui Raranga The Art of Tukutuku: Aotearoa New Zealand’s Heart at the United Nations

Fifty stunning works of art created by forty New Zealand weavers will grace the walls of the United Nations Headquarters in New York early next year, said Maori Affairs Minister Hon Dr Pita Sharples.

The tukutuku (Māori woven wall panels) tell stories of the people and the land from which they came, and will be previewed at a special exhibition ‘Kāhui Raranga The Art of Tukutuku: Aotearoa New Zealand’s Heart at the United Nations’ at Te Papa Tongarewa from 8 July-1 November 2014.

“Tukutuku are a revered art-form in Māori culture. They line the walls between the pou (carvings) of our whare tipuna (meeting houses), and carry the beliefs and experiences of the people and the land that shaped them,” said Dr Sharples.

“This collection of tukutuku represent both customary and contemporary designs, it also includes a depiction of Matariki which is particularly relevant this week as we celebrate the Māori new year.”

“New Zealanders have a rare chance to see this unique and special collection of works, created on a scale that is nothing less than remarkable for their time.”

Dr Sharples said thousands of hours had gone into developing these panels by highly specialised weavers, acknowledged as experts in their field. The weavers are all associated with Te Roopu Whatu Raranga o Aotearoa and worked under the leadership of renowned weaver Christina Wirihana to create the works.

The panels will hang permanently on New Zealand’s wall in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. As a founding member state, New Zealand gifted the wall to the United Nations in the 1950s, and it takes pride of place adjacent to the entry of the General Assembly Hall. Thousands of visitors pass the wall each year, and from 2015 they too will be able to experience and appreciate a part of New Zealand, and one of our most beloved traditional art forms.”

“I thank the weavers for the stunning taonga that they have created, and also Te Papa for the opportunity given to curate this exhibition before the panels are moved to their permanent home in New York. This is undoubtedly one of the most breath taking and unique exhibitions of tukutuku every mounted and New Zealanders should make every effort to view and enjoy them before they leave,” said Dr Sharples.

Kāhui Raranga The Art of Tukutuku: Aotearoa New Zealand’s Heart at the United Nations
Te Ihomatua Gallery | level 4
8 July – 1 November
Opening Tuesday 8 July


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