From their intricately woven hats to their magnificently handcrafted tivaivai (tivaevae), there is much to admire in the Raverave ia e te Rima Inangaro - Crafted with Love collection.
Mīharo Murihiku Trust is a Māori and Pasifika cultural arts trust based in Invercargill, Aotearoa, and each year it runs an annual senior artist programme.
This year the senior artist programme brings together a collective of local Cook Island women to showcase their stunningly vibrant artwork at the Don Street gallery.
Mīharo Programme and Events Manager Tania Carran says the senior artist programme celebrates a local senior artist/s, their body of work and their creative contribution to our community and beyond.
“We work alongside each artist to create a programme that encompasses what is important to them – whether it’s an exhibition of their work, creative workshops or an opportunity to spend time and reflect with those who have been an integral part of their journey,” Tania says.
“Raverave ia e te Rima Inangaro - Crafted with Love is unique because it’s an exhibition showcasing the many skills of our Cook Island mamas,” Tania says.
“It shows how resourceful the mamas are because the materials they use in the Cook Islands are not readily available down here in New Zealand’s Deep South.
“The mamas say the exhibition has given them a chance to display to the community who they are and where they are from.
“They say their treasures are usually boxed away and rarely seen, yet they are so talented with their hands and it feels good to share that.”
Tania explains Mīharo organisers invited the mamas in an hour before the opening last week to see the exhibition for the first time before welcoming in the community for the formal proceedings.
“There were many reactions: tears of joy, a visible sense of pride, lots of giggling, talking and hugs.
“The huge smiles were the best part and being a small part of that is the most rewarding thing about my role.”
Mīharo facilitates and manages cultural and arts events, including events, workshops, exhibitions and projects with a strong focus on engaging rangatahi, within the Southland and Central Otago regions.
It provides meaningful and enriching opportunities for the community, underpinned by Māori and Pasifika values, Tania adds.
“We strive to see a region where arts and culture are visible, valued and thriving and a region where young people are exposed to meaningful and attainable opportunities for their futures.
“People are empowered in their cultural identity and as a community we have seen cultural awareness and visibility grow in leaps and bounds.
“Our work helps provide opportunities for Pacific Aotearoa to showcase their culture and identity and provides a platform to share who we are to the wider community.”
People are encouraged to visit the exhibition, as it is beautiful, bright and a reflection of the Cook Island culture, which is thriving here in Southland, Tania says.
“It’s an exhibition that brings much joy.”
The Raverave ia e te Rima Inangaro - Crafted with Love exhibition is open until June 25, 2022, at Mīharo, 28 Don Street, Invercargill.