Māori and Hawaiʻian artists seek to strengthen bonds

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Creative NZ has announced a pilot wānanga residency allowing two Māori and two Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiʻian) artists to work collaboratively at the Bishop Museum in Hawaiʻi.

The selected recipients will participate alongside Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiʻian First Nation), working as tēina (mentees) with tuākana (mentors). The tuākana are Honolulu-based independent curator Ngahiraka Mason (Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Arawa and Ngāti Pango tangata whenua) and Bishop Museum Library & Archives Director Leah Caldeira (Kanaka Maoli).

The residency was created with the intention of developing and maintaining relationships between Māori and Hawaiʻian artists.

A genuine interest in Māori history and in particular, the writings of Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck) are key qualities for successful applicants.

"The qualities I think are innate qualities, people who are interested in their history and in the stories... it will appeal to people who are interested in our material culture, and the stories that this tipuna collected, alot of his own thinking around what is scholarship and what is dedication ki to iwi, ki to hapu," Says Ngahiraka Mason

Of particular interest are the extensive writings of Te Rangihīroa (Sir Peter Buck), which the Bishop Museum holds, as well as works from throughout the Pacific and the world. 

Te Rangihiroa, also known as Sir Peter Buck (Ngāti Mutunga), was the third director of Bishop Museum (1936–1951) and also served as a trustee and president of the Board of Trustees of the museum. (PP68-8-027; Hawaiʻi State Archives).

The residency is part of Creative NZ’s cultural and art form exchange programme, which works with mana whenua and other first nation communities to increase the visibility and understanding of how first nation histories influence contemporary artistic expression. The programme supports residencies in which diverse and dynamic interactions help to develop innovative arts practice, identify new markets and further international cultural links.

Two Māori artists or practitioners will be selected by Bishop Museum Library & Archives and supported by Creative NZ to travel to Hawaiʻi to explore archives that show a continuous relationship between Hawaiʻi and Aotearoa. 

Creative NZ encourages Māori artists and practitioners to consider applying for the residency which will take place from 2-18 September 2019.