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Maori Art Gallery to Open in Queenstown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7 OCTOBER 2005


Maori Art Gallery to Open in Queenstown

Locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy some of the best New Zealand art this country has to offer with the opening of Toi o Tahuna, a new, spacious art gallery in Church Lane, Queenstown.

Toi o Tahuna, which specialises in contemporary Mäori art, opens its doors in November 2005. Its first exhibition, running from 4 – 27 November, features works by major and emerging contemporary Mäori and other New Zealand artists, including Darcy Nicholas, Marilynn Webb, Simon Kaan, Roi Toia, Lyonel Grant and Brian Strong.

Toi o Tahuna founder and director, Mark Moran, travelled the length of the country earlier this year, meeting artists and sourcing artworks for the gallery. With artists represented from Dunedin, Te Anau, Queenstown, Hokitika, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Tauranga, Auckland and Dargaville, Toi o Tahuna has the most comprehensive selection of contemporary Mäori art of any dealer gallery in New Zealand.

“Approximately 80% of the artists represented by Toi o Tahuna are Mäori,” says Mark. “Their work is complemented by other New Zealand art, resulting in a gallery that has a distinctly New Zealand flavour.”

Toi o Tahuna will also be showing New Zealand short films. For the opening exhibition, the public are invited to view the Oscar nominated Two Cars, One Night, directed by Taika Waititi. The gallery will also be screening artist related documentaries and will be promoting books by artists represented at the gallery, including Darcy Nicholas, Marilynn Webb, Roi Toia and Todd Couper.

The profile of contemporary Mäori art has recently received a huge boost with the success of the international exhibition Toi Mäori: Art from the Mäori people of New Zealand. More than 25,000 people attended the exhibition, which was held in San Francisco in August. Many of the artists featured in that exhibition are also exhibiting works at Toi o Tahuna.

Toi o Tahuna marks a significant career change for Mark. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and News International, the main United Kingdom subsidiary of News Corporation. However Mark decided to trade in his life with Rupert Murdoch to pursue his passion for art and chose Queenstown as the ideal place to open his gallery.

“Contemporary Mäori art is going from strength to strength. It is attracting a strong following, both locally and internationally, yet currently there are very few places in the South Island where you can view a wide variety of Mäori art,” says Mark. “Queenstown was the obvious choice for our location because of its concentration of national and international visitors, enabling us to showcase New Zealand fine art to a wider audience.”

Toi o Tahuna is a Toi Iho licensed stockist. Toi Iho is a registered trademark used to promote and sell authentic, quality Mäori art. The creation of the mark was facilitated by Te Waka Toi, the Mäori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, in consultation with Mäori artists.

Toi o Tahuna’s opening exhibition will feature new works by:
Aden Hoglund
Aimee Ratana
Brian Strong
Colleen Urlich
Cruz Jiminez
Darcy Nicholas
Denise Gaffikin
Emma Wright
Gabrielle Belz
Hepi Maxwell
Jolene Douglas
Lyonel Grant
Manos Nathan
Marilynn Webb
Matt Pine
Melanie Richardson
Rangi Kipa
Roi Toia
Simon Kaan
Sonia Snowden
Steve Gibbs
Todd Couper


ENDS

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