Exhibition celebrates Maaori and Native Hawaiian female ancestors

Nearly 200 people attended the opening of a new exhibition in Hamilton featuring works that explore the contemporary and ancestral importance of Maaori and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) women.

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Nearly 200 people attended the opening of a new large-scale exhibition in Hamilton featuring works that explore the contemporary and ancestral importance of Maaori and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) women.

E Hina e! E Hine e! is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato and the University of Waikato to exhibit works from all around Aotearoa New Zealand and Hawaiʻi featuring the connections between the Indigenous cultures and languages.

It opened at Waikato Museum last weekend coinciding with the end of Te Wiki o te Reo Maaori (Maaori Language Week), as well as with Kiingitanga (Maaori King movement) celebrations at the University of Waikato.

Museum Director Cherie Meecham says: “Some of the works have never been on display before and we’re thrilled to host this unique international exhibition. It’s breadth and richness will entice people to make a return visit.”

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a Taumata atua (carved wooden figure) from the Museum’s collection. Carved in foetal form, the Taumata atua was excavated in 1922 on a Te Rapa (Waikato) farm. She will be the special subject of an episode of Artefact to be hosted by Professor Dame Anne Salmond on Prime TV and Maaori Television on Demand next year.

The exhibition celebrates feminine creativity, abundance, and potential embodied in the natural environment through contemporary and ancestral taonga, oratory and visual storytelling. It draws on a wide body of research undertaken by the curators as well as their collective commitment to mana waahine and the need to illuminate a pathway towards a more sustainable future.

The exhibition opened with a whakatau (welcoming ceremony), followed by a live performance by Entertainment Suite’s Taiohi Manawataki to showcase Maaori performing arts.  The exhibition curators, Dr Nālani Wilson-Hokowhitu (Kanaka Maoli), Dr Aroha Yates-Smith (Te Arawa, Tainui, Horouta, Takitimu, Mataatua) and Maree Mills (Ngaati Tuuwharetoa), presented a well-attended public lecture on the exhibition in the Museum the same day.

Details of the exhibition and the opening events are available on the Waikato Museum website www.waikatomuseum.co.nz and facebook page www.facebook.com/waikatomuseum.

Image:

Karanga te po, by Lisa Reihana, is one of the works featuring in the exhibition, courtesy of Lisa Reihana and Milford Galleries.

Editors’ Notes:

  1. Lisa Reihana MNZM is one of NZ’s most celebrated multi-disciplinary artists today. She represented New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale and her works are held in private and public collections around the world. Karanga te po is from her series The Crossing and depicts Hine nui te po beckoning the spirit into her world below.
  2. Waikato Museum uses double vowels in te reo Maaori to represent a long vowel sound as it is the preference of Waikato-Tainui. Artists’ title are shown in their original form.

For more information, and photo available, please contact:
Crystal Beavis, Partnerships and Communications Manager
Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
ph 07-974-0535, 027-808-8761
crystal.beavis@hcc.govt.nz

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Waikato Museum - Te Whare Taonga o Waikato

20 Sep 2019

For an inspirational experience, visit us on the banks of the Waikato River in the heart of Hamilton's cultural precinct. Our exhibitions and activities tell the stories of this region and include visual art, social history, tangata whenua and science.