Toihoukura striving towards new horizons

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Creating art with substance is one the themes behind 'Hawaiki Hou' (new horizons), a new exhibition by students and staff at Toihoukura School of Māori Arts and Design in Gisborne, which is celebrating its 25th year.

Looking ahead, Kaitiaki (Head of School) Dayle Takitimu says the goal is "to stand as a symbol to the world, this is a Māori stance on these issues, some are related to colonisation, the arrival of Pākehā, some are related to 'Captain Crook' who will be commemorated here in Gisborne".

Takitimu says Toihoukura was built by local experts such as Derek Lardelli, Steve Gibbs, Sandy Adsett and Ivan Ehau.

However, the road hasn't been easy.

Takitimu says, "There have been many ups and downs in relation to funding and other matters but on the art side it's simple because that gift lives within us."

One of the works on display is by weaver Michelle Kerr, who has been awarded a scholarship to further her talents at Toihoukura next year.

“It's helped me grow, I came here as a weaver but I wanted to introduce other mediums into my art practice- so through Toihou, other students and the tutors I've been able to do that,” says Kerr. 

One of the goals behind her work is to enlighten people through creative practices.

“Your art needs substance and if you don't believe in that substance then it projects in your art.  That's how you can get that message across,” says Kerr.

The Hawaiki Hou exhibition is on display at Tairāwhiti Museum over summer.