This exhibition brings together internationally-recognised contemporary Maori carvers who work under the collective ‘Matatoki’ (meaning ‘The blade of the adze, the cutting edge’). The theme for this exhibition Mata a Waka, addresses long traditions of waka carving, te moana, voyaging, waka, vessels, navigation and new forms melding these traditions. Alongside these contemporary works are taonga tuturu from the Tauranga Heritage Collection reflecting traditional artworks that relate to the theme including a 700-year-old tiheru (bailer), tauihu (prow), hoe (paddles), toki (adze blades), punga anchor-stones and waka tiwai.
The works display the current strength of carving in Aotearoa New Zealand as an artform, while acknowledging the history, utility and warfare of previous generations. With great reverence and mana, Matatoki: Mata a Waka honours traditions while challenging conventions and re-conceiving traditional forms. Artists include Dan Couper, Mike Green, Jason Hina, Tracy Keith, Rakei Kingi, Joel Marsters, Charles Paringatai, Thomas Ratima, Hemi Sungren and Kereama Taepa.
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