By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The ‘Tuku Iho | Legado Vivo Māori’, an exhibition and festival that celebrates the art and culture of New Zealand’s Māori people, began in Rio de Janeiro on October 9th and will continue through October 25th. Featured events include live performances by the group kapa haka with singer Ria Hall, a Māori art installation with cravings by James Rickard and tattoos by moko tattooists.
Produced and sponsored by the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute (NZMACI) part of the Te Puia tourism organization, the ‘Tuku Iho | Legado Vivo Māori’ took place in Santiago, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina and São Paulo before arriving in Rio de Janeiro.
While in Argentina, NZMACI carvers including James Rickard, worked along side Wichí carvers, a group of the country’s indigenous people. During the festival’s time in Rio, Rickard and carvers are creating a large carving for the ongoing installation in Espaço Tom Jobim in Jardim Botânico.
Another popular feature of Tuku Iho | Legado Vivo Māori is moko artists offering free tattoos during events. When speaking about the wider popularity of a the style of tattoos and the inclusion of the artists in the event NZMACI’s director Karl Johnstone told Laura McQuillan in an article for Stuff.co.nz; “Hopefully what we’re doing is creating those discussions about integrity in art forms. We can be, sometimes, oversensitive around the use of our design … Really it’s about having knowledge about which forms are okay to use, which are generic, and sometimes which have more meaning associated with them and should only be used by particular people at certain times.”
To open the festival, the group kapa haka performed at the famous Pão de Açúcar. In the days that followed the group also performed in the Espaço Tom Jobim, Parque Madureira, Cristo Redentor and the Museu do Índio, where they met and performed with members of the Kayapó, a group of Brazil’s indigenous people on October 12th.
Tim Cossar, Te Puia’s chief executive, told Stuff.co.nz that kapa haka’s São Paulo performance was “unbelievably powerful” adding; “unlike a lot of audiences, they actually gravitated to the front and wanted to be very close to the performers, where a lot of countries – because it’s quite loud and can be seen as quite aggressive – they sort of stand back.”
Remaining performances by kapa haka with singer Ria Hall in Rio de Janeiro include a show at Praça dos Estivadores on Thursday, October 15th at 5PM; in Tom Jobim on October 16th at 10AM and at Posto 9 in Ipanema at 7PM; at Aterro do Flamengo on October 18th at 10AM; in Espaço Tom Jobim on October 20th at 10:40 AM and again at 2:40 AM.
For more information about Tuku Iho | Legado Vivo Māori, see the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute’s Facebook page.