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Cook Islands Heritage

Creative NZ Media Release, Visiting Cook Islands heritage artists to share their knowledge and skills in New Zealand, 3 September 2015

Six senior artists from the Cook Islands specialising in heritage artforms will visit Aotearoa New Zealand next week as part of an annual Creative New Zealand cultural exchange programme with the Pacific Islands. The visit coincides with this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations of self-government for the Cook Islands.

The artists will be in Wellington and Auckland to support Pacific arts and celebrate the close ties between the people of the Cook Islands and Aotearoa.

During 9-14 September the artists will share their skills and knowledge in a free public programme of workshops, demonstrations and talks hosted at Te Papa, Auckland War Memorial Museum and Fresh Gallery Ōtara. They will also take a tour of Te Papa and meet with local Māori and Pacific artists, including Toi Māori Aotearoa staff and board members, to exchange cultural knowledge and artistic practice.

“This exchange recognises and celebrates the long and special relationship between the people of the Cook Islands and New Zealand,” says Caren Rangi, Arts Council Pacific representative and Cook Islands cultural adviser for this year’s project.

“The timing of the exchange is especially fitting, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of self-government by the Cook Islands in free association with New Zealand. I am very excited to see our ta’unga (experts) come to share their unique artistic talents with the wider New Zealand community.”

The visiting artists are:

  • Tua Pittman (Rarotonga) – master vaka navigator
  • Mark Short (Rarotonga, Mauke, Manihiki) – Taunga (master) of Cook Islands drums
  • Tetini Pekepo (Rarotonga, Mangaia) – master tattooist, Tatau Kuki Airani (Cook Islands tattoo)
  • Tungane Broadbent (Rarotonga, Mangaia) – master tīvaevae artist (artistic quilting)
  • Minar Henderson (Rarotonga, Aitutaki) – Rakei Kuki Airani (Cook Islands costume design) and  choreography
  • Jemima Peau (Omoka Penrhyn) – senior weaver, Raranga Rito (Rito weaving)

“We are grateful for the support of Auckland Museum, Fresh Gallery Ōtara, Te Papa, the Cook Islands High Commission in New Zealand and Tōi Maori Aotearoa with this year’s exciting programme. I would also like to acknowledge Tuaratini Raa, our Artist Liaison, who has been instrumental in making this exchange happen,” says Caren Rangi.

The visit is funded through Creative New Zealand’s international cultural exchange programme. Previous arts and cultural exchanges include Niue in 2014, Tonga in 2013 and Samoa in 2012.



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