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NZ musician to help share Māori culture in Brazil

For Immediate Release

18 September, 2015

New Zealand musician to help share Māori culture in Brazil

Placing Māori culture on the global stage, New Zealand singer, Ria Hall will join the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute’s (‘NZMACI’) Tuku Iho | Living Legacy exhibition which opens in Rio de Janeiro this October.

Taking New Zealand’s indigenous culture and arts to the world, Tuku Iho | Living Legacy showcases over 80 exquisite Māori artworks crafted from wood, pounamu (greenstone), bone, stone, bronze and flax, created by students and teachers at NZMACI at Te Puia in Rotorua.

Originally established under an act of Parliament in 1926, the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute is mandated with the responsibility to protect, promote and perpetuate Māori arts and crafts, and Tuku Iho is a core representation of the Institute’s work.

Tuku Iho’s stop in Brazil marks the fifth country to host the exhibition, while also coinciding with Rio de Janeiro’s 450th anniversary of independence.

The exhibition will be supported by live kapa haka (performing arts), wood carving, tā moko (Māori tattoo) and a series of live talks. A number of trade and tourism events will also be held to build relationships and strengthen the New Zealand story in these key markets.

NZMACI director, Karl Johnstone says Tuku Iho was formed to share Māori culture far and wide, by connecting with and engaging and supporting other indigenous cultures around the world.

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“Tuku Iho provides an opportunity for our artists and performers to interact with Brazil’s indigenous peoples, schools, arts communities and wider public. It engenders dialogue about cultural development, the role of arts in our societies, and most critically, the importance of identity to the wellbeing of modern communities.

“Music and performance is an integral component of our culture – it brings our perspectives to life in compelling and engaging ways. Our kapa haka is a hugely popular component of the exhibition and it’s associated activities, and we are delighted to be building on this in Rio by having Ria Hall join us.”

The award winning, critically acclaimed songstress holds some resolute ideas for the future of New Zealand music and is a natural fit with the exhibition’s philosophies and objectives.

“The art of handing and passing cultural information to ensure its survival is such a strong act, so to be a part of something that encourages this resonates with me on many levels,” says Ms Hall.

“There is so much richness that New Zealand music can take to the world. With our collective cultural presence combined, we are making a humble statement together - that culture, art, language and all its associated nuances are vital for humanities sake.

“I think this kind of vision takes Māori from thinking regionally and nationally, to believing we belong globally - because we absolutely do.

“By continuing to push boundaries and challenge the status quo, while keeping Māoritanga (traditions) close to my heart, I believe this type of outlook supports the continuation of taking our culture to the world.

“My role is to complement the work of NZMACI - to embellish this cultural exchange. Culture can manifest in many forums, including the contemporary and I am hoping to showcase this through performance of song.”


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