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Toi Ora – a Māori component to the Nelson Arts Festival

Toi Ora – a Māori component to the Nelson Arts Festival

Media release: 7 August 2012

For the first time, three events featuring traditional and contemporary Māori arts will feature in this year’s Nelson Arts Festival.

Named Toi Ora, which means Living Art, the events are raranga (weaving) workshops, a regional urban art competition and a Māori Arts market.

Festival Director Sophie Kelly says the festival is thrilled to be working in partnership with the Kotahitanga working group and local iwi to present Toi Ora as part of the 2012 Nelson Arts Festival programme.

“We are delighted to have a strong Maori component to the festival this year that reaches out to our tangata whenua and showcases New Zealand’s talented Māori artists.”

Nelson City Council’s Kotahitanga working group member Barney Thomas says the aim was to deliver an additional Māori component in recognition of the artists who excel in the Māori arts and to promote and preserve traditional Māori art forms.

“The response from sponsors and local organisations to participate in the events has been extremely positive,” he says.

The Tohu Māori Arts Market, sponsored by Tohu Wine, will present a broad interpretation of Maori arts including such things as massage and herbal medicines alongside weaving, carving and kapahaka.

The Māori Regional Urban Art Competition, sponsored by Hamish Fletcher Lawyers and Cheapskates, kicks off on 1 September. Open to all youth aged 14 – 20 years, finalists will be invited to Nelson to reproduce their entries at the Refinery Art Space Gallery and then exhibit during the festival.

The competition asks participants to express, in the modern urban art genre, a Māori world view concept of turangawaewae, a place to stand. In support of the competition, Oi U creator George Shaw will run workshops with local schools. During the festival the YMCA, House 44 and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology will host interactive urban art workshops.

The raranga workshops will be held at the Provincial Museum and the Whakatū Marae Weaving Studio at Founders Heritage Park. The tutors will help students learn to harvest, prepare and weave harakeke (flax) in the traditional Māori style.

The Nelson Arts Festival is produced by the Nelson City Council as a celebration for locals and an attraction for visitors.

For the full festival programme, please visit www.nelsonartsfestival.co.nz


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