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Artists on a journey of renewal host art exhibition


Artists on a journey of renewal host art exhibition for Matariki

Monday, 01 July, 2019
PARS Incorporated (People at Risk Solutions)

Whakapuakitanga: Expressions

Visitors to Maungawhau | Mt Eden during Matariki will be welcomed to an interactive and multi-dimensional art exhibition featuring works from local artists that took part in an arts therapy programme facilitated by community organisation PARS (People at Risk Solutions) in Auckland.

The theme Whakapuakitanga: Expressions was developed by the artists and speaks to the emergence of creativity and a journey of renewal, discovery and growth. The artists will exhibit their works during Matariki and their whānau
will have a special preview before the exhibition opens to the public.

PARS has a legacy of over 100 years supporting people at risk who have been affected by a journey through the justice system. As part of their work to enable and empower freedom through growth in their clients, the arts programme was introduced this year with support of the wider community including volunteers giving their time to work alongside the artists.

The Learning and Outreach team from Auckland Art Gallery | Toi o Tāmaki has worked alongside PARS providing exhibition and curatorial advisory as well as mentoring support by experienced artist Ioane Ioane. Arts Access Aotearoa | Putanga Toi ki Aotearoa has also provided valuable guidance to PARS to support the development of the arts therapy programme.

The exhibition is being hosted at Maungawhau | Mt Eden with the support of the

Tūpuna Maunga Authority, the administration body for Maungawhau and the Tūpuna Taonga Trust who represent Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau - the 13 mana whenua owners of Maungawhau. The artists are inspired by the history of Maungawhau as a place of spiritual and cultural significance as they connect more closely to their whenua and place of belonging.

There are 10 artists exhibiting works across a range of artforms and they will be in residence during the exhibiition along with volunteers and PARS team members who have also contributed their artistic skills to the project.

Among the artists is a carver, canvas painters, a portrait painter, graffiti artists, and greenstone, wood and shell artists. All of the artists bring a strong sense of cultural identification as Māori and Pasifika to their work.

Stuart is a writer and has a collection of poetry collated and published by Unitec under his signature name ME. He describes his poems as “real life experiences I endured over the past four years”. Also featuring is a short film of one of his poems, called Into the Dark, directed and produced by PARS team member Chris Molloy.

These workshops give me confidence and help me express what I am feeling. They help connect us as artists, and we have built a great rapport with each other and become a family. I would like these workshops to continue as it's a space where we are able to be ourselves.”

Martin works with acrylics on canvas and has found strength through collaboration with the other artists.

When I do my artwork, I am in my own space. It eliminates all the negative to maintain the positive. It makes me feel focused as I work towards the finished product. The elements and environmental issues, such as the land, sea and air, influence my art. I am inspired by learning from past and present masters as well as fellow artists and close friends.”

Tiare also works on canvas specialising in graffiti art and mural work.

My inspiration in making my art comes from creating opportunities to help create social change. This exhibition is giving our whānau an opportunity to heal. This exhibition process is a healing agent, Rongoa (medicine).”

The driving force behind the arts project is Lois Naera, PARS Volunteer Co-ordinator.

Lois says that PARS is passionate about breaking down barriers and removing the stigma that its clients face when they are reintegrating back into new lives in the community after time in the justice system.

“This exhibition is an opportunity for the public to see these artists through a clear lens, unclouded by their pasts. From the artists’ perspective, art is therapeutic and provides a space where they can forget everything else and be who they want to be.”


The artists’ works will be on display and for sale at Whakapuakitanga: Expressions from 4 to 6 July as part of the Matariki 2019 celebrations at Maungawhau | Mt Eden.

The exhibition will be held on Maungawhau (Mt Eden) at the Kiosk and include:

· Thursday 4 July, an invitation only preview/opening event to host exhibition sponsors and valued supporters of PARS volunteer services with the aim of achieving continued support for the arts programme. Well known artists and patrons of the arts community will also attend.

· Friday 5 July, an invitation-only special preview for the artists, their whānau and friends to showcase their artwork and what they have achieved.

· Saturday 6 July, open to the public from 10 am through to 4 pm (gold coin koha/donation), with Kai (food) and real fruit ice-cream for sale at Whau.


Whakapuakitanga: Expressions Matariki Art Exhibition featuring artists supported by PARS (People at Risk Solutions) is a collaborative community arts project supported in Auckland by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority, Te Puni Kōkiri Te Pū Harakeke fund and the Albert-Eden Local Board grant.

About PARS: PARS Inc is a charitable organisation based in Auckland, established over 100 years ago to provide support to prisoners and their whānau.
It has evolved into a multidisciplinary team that provides specialist services to released prisoners, deportees, at-risk youth and their whānau. These services include a range of housing, education, employment, addictions, mental health and wellbeing, cultural identity, whānau services and mentoring through their volunteer programme. PARS supported over 700 people in the 2018 year of service delivery of which over 50% identify as Māori.


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