Māori Artists feature in Matariki Festival

Major exhibitions by leading Māori artists are to go on display during the Wellington Matariki Festival which kicks off next week.

Eight Wellington museums and art galleries are presenting the festival and will feature more than 60 free events and activities from Saturday 13 June to Sunday 12 July.

Te Atiawa descendent Darcy Nicholas is one of 25 leading artists featuring at Waikanae's Mahara Gallery exhibition called He Toi Reikorangi. All artists share whakapapa and their work ranges from traditional to contemporary pieces.

Tā moko artists Mitchell Hughes, Rangi Kipa and Taryn Beri will also be present at the gallery to display their work. 

The Pataka Art and Museum in Porirua will hold an exhibition named Te Tini A Pitau: Ngataiharuru Taepa, 12 years of Kōwhaiwhai which highlights the work of contemporary artist Ngataiharuru Taepa.  Taepa is considered one of New Zealand's most important and innovative contemporary artists who has been working on restoring kōwhaiwhai panels since he was a teenager. 

Self-taught artist Susan Te Kahurangi King and Shannon Te Ao's exhibition at City Gallery in Wellington has a strong focus on communication.

King stopped talking at the age of 5 but uses drawing as a means of communication.  Te Ao uses found language and embeds it into performed actions and gestures. 

Susan Te Kahurangi King | Shannon Te Ao:  From the one I call my own runs from Saturday 27 June.

Te Papa has two exhibitions in Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa that highlight remarkable Māori stories.  Ngāti Toa Rangatira: He iti whetū showcases Ngāti Toa stories of encounters in the colonial years of Aotearoa New Zealand.  Two artists contrasts the striking work of Emily Karaka and Shona Rapira Davies, ground-breaking Māori artists who rose to prominence in the mid-1980s.

Also at Te Papa, local aerosol artists will transform a wall in the underground parking lot on  Thursday 18 June.  Juse1, Kerb, and Spex will take their inspiration from Te Papa’s Māori and Pacific collections, as well as the museum’s Matariki 2015 theme: ‘He rau tangata, he kōingo aroha | People gather and affirm love in myriad ways’.

The Wellington Matariki Festival 2015 runs from Saturday 13 to Sunday 12 July.  For full details of events, visit www.wellingtonmatariki.org