Ria Hall to join NZ Māori Arts & Crafts Institute to promote Māori culture in Brazil

 Photo / NZ Māori Arts & Crafts Institute

The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) is returning to South America next month with their exhibition, Tuku Iho | Living Legacy, with the addition of renowned Māori songstress, Ria Hall.

Earlier this year, the exhibition was successfully shown in Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Tuku Iho’s stop in Brazil marks the fifth country to host the exhibition, while also coinciding with Rio de Janeiro’s 450th anniversary of independence.

More than 80 pieces of Māori arts and crafts made from wood, greenstone, bone, stone, bronze, and flax are on display in the exhibition created by students and teachers at NZMACI at Te Puia in Rotorua.  Live carving and tā moko demonstrations are also part of the exhibition.

NZMACI director, Karl Johnstone says Tuku Iho was formed to share Māori culture far and wide, by connecting with and engaging and supporting other indigenous cultures around the world.

“Tuku Iho provides an opportunity for our artists and performers to interact with Brazil’s indigenous peoples, schools, arts communities and wider public.  It engenders dialogue about cultural development, the role of arts in our societies, and most critically, the importance of identity to the well-being of modern communities. "

Ria Hall, with her vast experience in kapa haka and other stage performances, is a natural fit with the exhibition's philosophies and objectives.

“The art of handing and passing cultural information to ensure its survival is such a strong act, so to be a part of something that encourages this resonates with me on many levels,” she says.

Johnstone says, "Music and performance is an integral component of our culture – it brings our perspectives to life in compelling and engaging ways.  Our kapa haka is a hugely popular component of the exhibition and it’s associated activities, and we are delighted to be building on this in Rio by having Ria Hall join us.” 

Hall adds, "I think this kind of vision takes Māori from thinking regionally and nationally, to believing we belong globally - because we absolutely do.  My role is to complement the work of NZMACI - to embellish this cultural exchange. Culture can manifest in many forums, including the contemporary and I am hoping to showcase this through performance of song.”

For more information, check out the NZMACI facebook page, or read our previous article on their other South America travels this year here.

 Photo / NZ Māori Arts & Crafts Institute