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Te Arawa Artists Collective

Rotorua’s artistic community is set to become even more diverse with the establishment of TeKuraPae – a new collective of Te Arawa artists with the purpose of showcasing local artists and ensuring the survival of Te Arawa arts.

Senior art practitioners Karl Leonard, Hohua Mohi, and Chanz Mikaere established TeKuraPae: Te Arawa Artists Collective, having been spurred on by the success of the Tukana Teina exhibition – an exhibition highlighting Te Arawa creatives at the Rotorua Arts Village earlier this year.

The new whakapapa-based collective recently secured a $20,000 grant from Rotorua Trust, which will go towards funding a part-time co-ordinator position to establish core aspects of the organisation.

TeKuraPae Co-founder, Chanz Mikaere says Rotorua Trust’s assistance as a mainstream funding body shows they see the potential of what we can do in this space.

 “The collective’s purpose is to showcase Te Arawa artists and ensure their talents are seen, heard and felt by all.

“The impetus for the landmark Tuakana Teina exhibition was to test the state of the Te Arawa artistic community, to showcase works of excellence, and to create space for the vital conversation around the cultural survival of Te Arawa arts within the wider community.

“The exhibition did just that, and in its wake TeKuraPae was formed as a response by senior Te Arawa artists to collectivise, invigorate and steer the tribal artistic waka as it propels forward to inspire the next generation.”

TeKuraPae is now a unified group of about 40 Te Arawa-based artists, from weavers and digital animators to painters, sculptors, ta moko and fibre artists, who are passionate and committed to future proofing uniquely Te Arawa artistic knowledge and tradition.

Through the collective, its members want to ensure Te Arawa art is valued and championed by not only Te Arawa citizens but the community as a whole.

“This is something I have always wanted to do. The scope and potential for the collective, particularly post-COVID, is huge. Now is the time to blow it out of the water and go hard,” Chanz says.

The collective will foster collaborative projects, including those incorporating tukana-teina relationships as well as marae-based wananga and exhibitions.

The dates are yet to be confirmed, but the first wananga will take place at the rising of Puangaiterangi and Matariki later this month.

Rotorua Trust Chairman Stewart Edward says the new collective is sure to have positive and vibrant impacts for both Te Arawa people and the wider Rotorua arts community. 

“TeKuraPae is based on the premise that seeking, securing and exercising artistic self-determination is important, necessary and fundamental to their existence as Te Arawa people.”

“With education, artistic and cultural vibrancy, and employment at the core of TeKuraPae Collective, we are confident the group will help future proofing how it transmits Te Arawa narratives and artistic excellence.”