Experience Māori treasures across Aotearoa

Experiencing Māori arts and crafts is a must during your visit to New Zealand. Here are some of the best exhibitions to explore around the country.

New Zealand’s Māori people traditionally retain their links to their tupuna (ancestors) through storytelling - expressed through art forms such as carving and weaving, as well as the spoken word – te reo Māori.

Throughout New Zealand, significant works of art using wood, bone, stone, flax and various other contemporary mediums, are handcrafted and exhibited, both in and out of museums.

The New Zealand way is to bring tāonga Māori (Māori treasures) to life in order to exemplify the links between present, past and future, between people who lived long ago, those alive today, and those yet to be born.

Exhibitions of Māori arts and crafts provides the opportunity for Māori and New Zealand to reach across cultural and geographic boundaries, perpetuating, preserving and promoting Māori culture through traditional Māori arts and crafts.

Tuku Iho | Living Legacy - Te Puia - Rotorua
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June 14 – November 9, 2018

An exhibition of tāonga Māori, which has already captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, is being showcased in Aotearoa for the first time at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), at Te Puia in Rotorua.

Tuku Iho l Living Legacy is an exhibition, cultural engagement and events programme developed and delivered by NZMACI, with more than 80 pieces of Māori arts and crafts, made from wood, greenstone, bone, stone, bronze and flax on display.

The exhibition has toured Asia, South America and North America over the past five years, attracting critical acclaim and thousands of visitors at every stop.

Bringing the exhibition home ensures it remains connected with its place of origin. Installed at Te Puia until November, manuhiri (visitors) will be able to experience Tuku Iho in its place of origin before it travels to Japan ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Tā moko - Auckland Museum - Auckland
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Long-term exhibition

Discover what wearing moko and tatau (tattoos) means in the Pacific. Through objects, photographs and video, this small display looks at the practice of tattooing, from its origins as a sacred art to its application on contemporary merchandise.

Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow - Te Papa - Wellington
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Long-term exhibition

This dramatic exhibit of tāonga, combines innovative contemporary art and powerful stories of survival and tenacity, on display at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Rongowhakaata is a small and enduring iwi from the East Coast of the North Island, whose leaders and creativity have made a big impact across Aotearoa.

Rongowhakaata and Te Papa have worked together to create Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow. The exhibition enables manuhiri to explore the land, people and stories of Rongowhakaata, whose unique art reflects their innate creativity, innovative spirit and rich history.

Taonga Pūoro - Te Hikoi - Riverton, Southland
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June 2 – September 30, 2018

Taonga Pūoro is the name given to traditional Māori instruments.

Just 25 mins from Invercargill on the Southern Scenic Route, this exhibition is a chance to come and explore, learn and hear the sounds of Oraka Aparima Runaka’s collection of Taonga Pūoro, crafted by Alistair Fraser.

Tēnei Tonu - Museum Theatre Gallery - Hawke’s Bay, Napier
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Long-term exhibition

Translated as 'always here', Tēnei Tonu is a stunning exhibition which features a broad range of historic and contemporary tāonga, which shares the diverse stories of local iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu, and their enduring connection to the land.

The exhibition includes ten tāonga riri (weapons), which have recently come out of storage and are on now on display - some have not been exhibited for over 100 years. They are representative of the nearly 200 taiaha and tewhatewha (long wooden or bone weapons) held in the Hawke's Bay Museums Trust’s Ruawharo Ta-u-rangi collection, ranging from pre-contact through to the 1940s.

These works of art and craftsmanship depict the variety of styles and materials used by Māori to create these traditional art forms.