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Pānui Pāpāho Matariki Magic At Taupō Museum

Artist Vanessa Wairata Edwards is holding an exhibition at Taupō Museum for Matariki. Photo / Supplied.

From Saturday 15 June, the Taupō Museum is the place to be for anyone wanting to celebrate Matariki and enjoy some unique artwork.

The appearance of Matariki in the morning sky in mid-winter marks the Māori New Year, or Te Mātahi o te Tau. It signals a time to remember those who have passed, celebrate the present, and plan for the future. This year, we celebrate Matariki from 29 June to 6 July, with a national public holiday on 28 June.

As part of its Matariki programme, Taupō Museum is holding exhibitions in both the Niven Gallery and Main Gallery from 15 June to 28 July.

Taupō Museum exhibitions curator Piata Winitana-Murray says it is important for the museum to host events that “celebrate and explore our own unique relationship with the environment in our district”.

“The museum and galleries are a great place to learn, explore, and to pause and reflect, which is what Matariki is all about. The galleries especially provide a space for us to step away from our busy lives and contemplate different perspectives, whether these align with us or not.

“Over the past 200-plus years, Māori have lost a lot of traditional cultural knowledge, and we are now regaining some of this knowledge. Matariki is a great example of what was once a forgotten tradition, that is now being reclaimed.”

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Taa E Kōrero Ana – Marks That Speak, being held in the Niven Gallery, is a compelling exhibition of new work and explorations by Vanessa Wairata Edwards.

This work is the visual component of Vanessa’s final year of a Masters of Māori Visual Arts. She says it is a print exhibition that contributes to the development of a Māori approach to printmaking.

“Inspired by researching the introduction of the printing press to Aotearoa and the consequent effects on Māori, I take a close look at my own personal colonial bias,” she says.

“As a well-educated, catholic, Māori wahine I have been colonised and I examine my relationship with colonisation through the history of the printing press.”

Meanwhile, in the Main Gallery, He Tāhei Poananga will feature a collection of artworks by Toi Tūwharetoa.

Ms Winitana-Murray says Toi Tūwharetoa is a collective of artists who either whakapapa to Ngāti Tūwharetoa, or who are Māori and live within the region of Tūwharetoa. It will feature a mixture of well-established artists such as master weaver Veranoa Hetet (Ngāti Tūrangitukua), Margaret Aull (Ngāti Te Rangiita), Natalie Couch (Ngāti Rauhoto), as well as local and rangatahi artists.

“The exhibition has been curated by Raewyn Rameka, a Kaiako at the local kura kaupapa and a staunch advocate for the arts.

“She has chosen the concept of Tāhei Poananga which is the white clematis flower which grows on top of Pihanga maunga, and is connected to the Puanga star. Each artist was given a brief about this occurrence and had the opportunity to find out more and create a relative piece for the exhibition.”

Both exhibitions will have an opening night from 5pm on Friday 14 June. Taupō Museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm daily and entry is free for Taupō District residents with proof of address.

The museum will also be open to celebrate Matariki on the public holiday on 28 June. There will be a sausage sizzle and Matariki stars hidden throughout the museum to keep the young ones entertained.

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