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Exhibition celebrates Maaori and Native Hawaiian female ancestors

11 September 2019

REIHL22407 Karanga te Po 2018 IMAGE2

A new large-scale exhibition featuring works that explore the contemporary and ancestral importance of Maaori and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) women opens at Waikato Museum on Saturday (14 September) coinciding with Te Wiki o te Reo Maaori, as well as with Kiingitanga celebrations at the University of Waikato.

E Hina e! E Hine e! is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato and the University of Waikato to exhibit works from all around Aotearoa New Zealand and Hawaiʻi featuring the connections between the Indigenous cultures and languages.

Museum Director Cherie Meecham says: “Some of the works have never been on display before and we’re thrilled to host this unique international exhibition. It’s breadth and richness will entice people to make a return visit.”

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a Taumata atua (carved wooden figure) from the Museum’s collection. Carved in foetal form, the Taumata atua was excavated in 1922 on a Te Rapa (Waikato) farm. She will be the special subject of an episode of Artefact to be hosted by Professor Dame Anne Salmond on Prime TV and Maaori Television on Demand next year.

The exhibition celebrates feminine creativity, abundance, and potential embodied in the natural environment through contemporary and ancestral taonga, oratory and visual storytelling. It draws on a wide body of research undertaken by the curators as well as their collective commitment to mana waahine and the need to illuminate a pathway towards a more sustainable future.

To celebrate the exhibition opening, Entertainment Suite’s Taiohi Manawataki will showcase Maaori performing arts with a live performance at 11.30am and the exhibition curators, Dr Nālani Wilson-Hokowhitu (Kanaka Maoli), Dr Aroha Yates-Smith (Te Arawa, Tainui, Horouta, Takitimu, Mataatua) and Maree Mills (Ngaati Tuuwharetoa), will provide a public lecture in the Museum lecture theatre at 1pm.

Details of the exhibition and the opening events are available on the Waikato Museum website here.


Karanga te po, by Lisa Reihana, is one of the works featuring in the exhibition, courtesy of Lisa Reihana and Milford Galleries.

Editors’ Note:

Lisa Reihana MNZM is one of NZ’s most celebrated multi-disciplinary artists today. She represented New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale and her works are held in private and public collections around the world. Karanga te po is from her series The Crossing and depicts Hine nui te po beckoning the spirit into her world below.

For more information please contact:

Crystal Beavis, Partnerships and Communications Manager
Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
ph 07-974-0535, 027-808-8761