Thursday 24 March 2022
A major new toi Māori wānanga, Toi Te Kupu: Whakaahuatanga, is to be held in Tāmaki Makaurau to coincide with this winter’s Matariki. Hosted by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, this Māori arts symposium will be held across two days, 15–16 June 2022.
Toi Te Kupu – to hold fast to the word, honour the word – and Whakaahuatanga – to transform and metamorphose – reflect the kaupapa and Māori paradigm for the wānanga, which places te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori – Māori language, culture, beliefs, values and practices – at its heart.
Toi Te Kupu: Whakaahuatanga aspires to celebrate and showcase the transformative power of mātauranga Māori, as expressed through art, exhibition-making and wider creative practices, while increasing the dialogue between Māori artists on what is critically important in contemporary Māori art today.
Toi Te Kupu: Whakaahuatanga is facilitated by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s Senior Curator, Māori Art, Nathan Pōhio, and supported by the Gallery’s Māori Advisory Committee, Haerewa.
‘Toi Te Kupu sits under the mantle of whakaahuatanga, the notion of transformation and metamorphosis as evidenced by our tūpuna. Under this, we seek to provide platforms for Māori artists, thinkers and curators to bring their voices to the community,’ says Pōhio.
‘Our hope is that this wānanga allows for a wealth of sharing, thinking, speaking – and most importantly – listening.'
Te Arepa Morehu, Head of Kaupapa Māori at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki says, ‘Toi Te Kupu is an opportunity to bring diverse thoughts together to wānanga the past, examine those things that are critical right now and explore the opportunities ahead as we move to haere ake nei – into the future.’
Dr Valance Smith, Chair of Haerewa, says, ‘At the heart of Toi Te Kupu are Māori artists, their art and their stories capturing people’s hearts and minds, bringing issues to the fore, engaging with people, and invoking a palpable sense of connection that transcends diverse ways of thinking and worldviews.’
Along with the chance to hear from keynote speakers, including Emeritus Professor Ngāhuia te Awekōtuku (Te Arawa, Ngāi Tūhoe and Waikato) and Robert Jahnke, ONZM FRSNZ (Ngāi Taharora, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Te Whānau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou), attendees can expect opportunities to wānanga and explore public art by contemporary Māori artists in the central city.
Emeritus Professor Ngāhuia te Awekōtuku (Te Arawa, Ngāi Tūhoe and Waikato) was raised by a whānau of dedicated weavers and story tellers in Ōhinemutu, Rotorua. Te Awekōtuku is critical thinker, writer, lecturer, activist, curator, critic, and governor, and has produced three collections of creative ﬁction and poetry, a volume of essays and the deﬁnitive Mau Moko: The World of Māori Tattoo in 2007. Her most recent scholarly book, E Ngā Uri Whakatupu: Weaving Legacies 2015, accompanied her award-winning exhibition on Rangimārie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa. Her works on culture, gender, heritage and sexuality have been published and acclaimed nationally and internationally. Te Awekōtuku is a Fellow of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Waikato.
Robert Jahnke, ONZM FRSNZ (Ngāi Taharora, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Te Whānau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou) is considered one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary Māori artists. Jahnke is a highly respected educator who works as an historian, teacher, researcher, writer and advocate for Māori and indigenous arts nationally and internationally. He is responsible for setting up the first Māori Visual Arts degree in a university: a Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts in 1995 which was subsequently followed by a Postgraduate Diploma of Māori Visual Arts and a Master of Māori Visual Arts in 1999. He is currently the Professor of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University’s Whiti o Rehua School of Art.
Toi Te Kupu: Whakaahuatanga is organised by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki with the support of Auckland Council’s Māori Outcomes Fund. The wānanga will be held at the Te Pokapū | Aotea Centre across Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 June 2022.