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Māori curators

CAPTION: Māori curators in front of a Buck Ninn painting at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Around 40 Māori curators from museums, galleries, archives and museums gathered at O-Tāwhao Marae in Te Awamutu recently for their annual hui aimed at networking, sharing knowledge and discussing how to grow Māori capacity in the sector.

Wellington curator Natalie Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Ngāi Tahu) was among the team that organised the first Māori curatorial network hui in 2013 with less than a dozen attendees and was impressed with its growth.

“It's incredible to see that in 2024 the gathering at O-Tāwhao Marae boasted 40 participants, showcasing the significant growth and expansion of Māori curatorial practitioners,” she says.

“One of the most enriching aspects of the wānanga was witnessing the vast range and profound depth of this expansion and we're eagerly anticipating the continued growth in capacity for Māori curatorial practice.”

The hui was hosted by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Poutiaki Toi - Collections Curator Aisha Roberts (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa), says curators play a vital role in the arts world.

"Our curators are the storytellers and caretakers of our taonga and provide opportunities and support for our artists,” she says.

“So being a part of this kaupapa, which aims to strengthen, grow and provide development opportunities for Māori in this space, is important. Not only is it important for Aotearoa, but it’s important for our tauira (students) to ensure communities like this are thriving and able to offer opportunities beyond the classroom as they continue their artistic journeys.”

Ōtepoti (Dunedin) independent curator Piupiu Maya Turei (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitāne ki Wairarapa, Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi) says the weekend hui provided valuable support for her work.

“As an independent Māori curator, being able to hang out with people who do the same kind of work is really invaluable for me, we speak the same language and I don’t get to do that very often.”

She had studied toi with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and says being able to see its extensive contemporary art collection first-hand was a highlight of the weekend.

“Being able to be here and hearing all the history, having come out of the courses, feels really special. And that collection is amazing. Knowing how hard it is for us in education, just seeing all that excellence, all the way through, it was awesome.”

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Published On: 19 June 2024

Article By: Comms Team

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