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Māori tradition explored through new exhibition

Iho Pātaka Image

An original exhibition exploring the traditional terms for Māori hair through dramatic portraits and written works, and created almost entirely in Porirua, is on now at Pātaka Art + Museum.

Iho, on show in Pātaka’s Bottle Creek Gallery, is a collaborative exhibition about traditional Māori hairstyles, hair types and ways of adorning hair.

The exhibition demonstrates each of these styles of wearing hair through a series of dramatic portraits.

Alongside each portrait is a written story that explores the idea or feelings portrayed through each image, as either a poem or piece of prose.

The exhibition coincides with a host of activities and events being held to celebrate Matariki.

Project Coordinator Rangimarie Jolley, working with fellow Project Coordinator Sian Montgomery-Neutze, said the exhibition was a collaborative project bringing together a host of people from across Porirua.

“There are more than 60 people involved in the production of the portraits, the models, written works and production.

“Almost everyone involved in the project is from or based in Porirua, and the production crew are all female.”

“There are 35 terms that are explored, through 31 portraits.”

“The themes we explore are vast, but include the depth of language as a function for developing and reconnecting ourselves through our Mātauranga Māori.”

Models and contributors from all walks of life have all played a part in the exhibition.

Jolley said the process of gathering contributions from the variety of writers, artists and models involved was very much a natural process.

“We worked very organically with the people we knew would be comfortable with the Kaupapa.

“This project was always about sharing our uniquely Māori practices and customs around hair, and many of the writers, artists and contributors were responsive to that.”

Pātaka’s connection to the community was a major reason why the exhibition had come to the gallery, Jolley said.

“Pātaka has always had a great community presence, and we were glad to be able to start the journey of IHO with them and in their space.

“As I mentioned, the vast majority of us are based in Porirua and so it seemed natural that the initial works be exemplified here, for us, by us.”

The exhibition, which opened on Thursday June 6 is on until Sunday 14 July.

18 Jun 2019