Celebrating Māori art, achievement enterprise and creativity

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

The Māori Market launches tonight in Wellington and brings together some of New Zealand's best Māori artworks and artists from all over the country.

Contemporary Māori Artist Darcy Nicholas says, “The Māori market is a time when the contemporary artists come out and they express their views on where we are as a people. It’s interesting to see a wide variety of things that happen because what we call visual art is another form of Māori language and that’s what our language is.”

Moko artist and carver Rangi Skipper says, “We don't have Pākehā for us. It's for us to express ourselves to the world.”

The Māori Art Market showcases a huge range of Māori art that also incorporates traditional practices including weaving, carving, moko and clay work through to cutting-edge contemporary pieces.

Nicholas says, “The major aim is to grow the market for Maori art, we’ve got a lot of New Zealanders interested but in reality were finding a bigger interest offshore. You have to bring a point where you gather all of that energy and all of that excitement so that you've got the back end of the artists to take things offshore.”

The ground floor gallery of Wharewaka will host five art galleries featuring the works of accomplished Māori arts practitioners including Rangi Kipa, Darcy Nicholas and Lewis Gardiner, plus international indigenous guest artists such as Canadian Dempsey Bob.

“The interest is in the -performing arts and then how it crosses over into the visual arts, both are two separate languages and the interest around Te reo Māori is really interesting because if you ignore the visual artist having a language of their own, then you actually close off a lot of your ability to read things.”

The market launches tonight and will continue for the rest of the weekend.