Feather adornment on stage

Earlier last year Rob and I went on a road trip to Rotorua to go and check out their regional Kapahaka competitions.  I am never disappointed when I go and watch Kapahaka in Te Arawa.

One thing that I’ve noticed, and which brings me to  this blog, is the renaissance of feather pohoi (neck and ear adornment) on stage. One performer, in particular, who I believe is partly responsible for this revival is Mataia Keepa of Te Matarae I Orehu. Here pictured above he wears a kahu or hawk wing.

Traditionally, the Toroa’s (Albatross) prized white feathers were worn on important occasions by leading men. Toroa feathers used as plumes are known as raukura or kaiwharawhara. Soft feathers from the belly were made into pōhoi toroa – feather ball earrings. There is also the pōhoi Huia, an ornament made from the skin of the Huia, which was highly valued. The bird was skinned with the beak, skull and wattles attached, while the legs and wings were removed. The skin was dried and the resulting pōhoi ornament was worn from the neck or ears.

Next month Te Matatini - New Zealand’s national kapa haka competition and premiere Maori cultural performing arts festival will be held in Rotorua. For more infomation go to http://www.tematatini.co.nz

Photo care of Mataia Keepa.

Maori artist’s work displayed in New York

A Manawatu artist now based in Japan has had his work splashed over the digital screens in New York’s Times Square.

Johnson Witehira, along with fellow New Zealand artists Elspeth Hoskin and Hayley Heartbreak, earned the right to have their work displayed at the famous site today thanks to a competition by infrastructure company Chorus.

Witehira specialises in Maori graphic design and was blown away by the opportunity.

‘‘It’s just nice seeing my work, as a Maori designer and artist getting worldwide exposure. Awesome representing my Whanganui, Taumarunui and Feilding whanau.’’

Witehira is a former Feilding High School, Whanganui School of Design and Massey University student.

Twelve billboards were hired, including the Nasdaq, ABC, Fox and Sony and 24 digital screens, to display the New Zealand-inspired designs transmitted by fibre optic cables from New Zealand to show the potential for ultrafast broadband.

In two half hour slots the work of three winning New Zealand designers, including two Wellingtonians, and ten finalists took over the screens in one of the largest synchronised screenings ever to take place in the famous New York City advertising spot.

The winners each received $5000 prizemoney and a trip to New York City to see the display.

© Fairfax NZ News

We Love Maisey Rika and her new album ‘Whitiora’.

Maisey Rika’s 3rd studio album Whitiora is a full length Te reo (Maori) album with 11 tracks. Whitiora is to represent a positive, new light on life. Since Maisey’s first solo release in 2009, she has developed her craft further as an outstanding singer-songwriter with much success over the past 3 years.

Whitiora includes Tangaroa Whakamautai, the first single of the album, which takes you on a journey through the ocean and Maori legend. Other tracks include “Ruaimoko” ft Anika Moa, which is a haunting reference to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, mixed delicately with a string quartet. Maisey worked with a wide range of Maori songwriters to collaborate and create some angelic, original pieces.

An afternoon with an artist – Matthew McIntyre Wilson

Matthew McIntyre Wilson – Wellington based jeweller & weaver from Good Karma on Vimeo.

Tia and I travelled to Wellington last week and spent an afternoon with Matthew in his home studio, talking about his  jewellery, weaving, inspirations and his current work, his second korowai – cloak. We also filmed him during his live workshops at Kahu Ora – Living Cloaks exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa, where Matthew was in residence weaving a cloak from copper wire.This is the first in a series of small interviews with creative people from Aotearoa.

Kia ora!

Well, over the past 7 months Rob and have I shut up shop (our physical shop in Wellington that is), relocated to the beautiful Tolaga Bay on the East Coast, and launched this website. We’ve long thought about the idea of running a successful online business from my tribal homeland, and giving the country life a go. This blog will cover all these things, with regular updates of new pieces as they arrive, all things in the Maori art & design-sphere, music, in between our novice attempts at country living.

Tia (& Rob outside our old gallery in Wellington)