All-Māori exhibition first at Tautai Pacific Arts Trust

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Toi Tū Te Moana is a new art exhibition where five wāhine Māori artists have collaborated to create works that draw inspiration from their ancestral homeland, Hawaiki.

“Tautai is a space that's made to encourage or dream up for our Pasifika people,” says Te Ara Minhinnick (Ngāti Te Ata) whose work is on display at the exhibition in central Auckland. 

This is the first time that an all-Māori exhibit has been on display at the Tautai Pacific Arts Trust, and Atareta Black (Ngāti Kahununu ki te Wairoa, Ngāti Ruapani) says it is a unique experience, especially after being schooled at mainstream art schools. 

“I was never exposed to exhibitions like this while I was in art school so it's just good to know that there are other artists out there that we can link up with so we are not so isolated in this space.”

Black's mahi is called Rere ki Uta Rere ki Tai and draws inspiration from traditional Māori kupenga or fishing nets.   

“One of the things that I tried to draw on was the kōrero on rākau whau that came from Hawaiki and was brought here to Aoteroa and used as a material from kupenga,” she says.

Minhinnick chose to focus her artwork, Waihau Rā Waihau Pō, onngā hau e whā or the four winds and the sails used on waka.  

“There's one traditional sail that's left that's in the British Museum at the moment and, looking at that pattern, shaped by the winds,” Minhinnick says. 

The exhibition will be available to the public until June 4.