Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Contemporary Maori fashion show launches at Te Puia

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Mereana Ngatai Fashion and Textiles showcases cultural fashion collections nationally and internationally.
Mereana Ngatai Fashion and Textiles showcases cultural fashion collections nationally and internationally.

Rotorua is set to become the Maori fashion capital of New Zealand after the launch of Tiki Ahua - an annual fashion, design, music and dance extravaganza to be held at Te Puia.

The event will be held on Saturday September 24 at Te Puia's Te Whakaruruhau conference venue and will feature fashion and entertainment by some of Rotorua and New Zealand's top musicians and designers.

MC will be Matai Smith with artistic director Turanga Merito with performers including Che Fu, Whenua Patuwai and dance crew Street Candee.

Tiki Ahua - Ka Mura: Set Alight, is the theme for this year's show that organisers say will grow from a one-night spectacle, to a week-long festival.

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Te Puia sales and marketing general manager Kiri Atkinson-Crean said 22 designers would feature at this year's event showcasing streetwear, jewellery and adornment, including ta moko - day wear, evening wear and avant-garde.

Designs from fashion identities such as Kharl WiRepa, Adrienne Whitewood, Natura Aura and Henare Jewellery will feature on the runway, alongside other brands with captivating stories.

"An exciting part of this event is not only the incredible contemporary fashion, but also pulling through traditional Maori arts such as ta moko, pounamu and bone carving, which are then thrust into a pretty glitzy high fashion environment."

Mr Merito helped designers showcase their visions and pulled together the entertainment.
"The designers have put blood, sweat, and tears into their designs," he said.

"I'm excited as the artistic director to be able to bring a night of fire, love, and magic to my hometown.
"This event is more than a fashion show - it is the coming together of our indigenous culture and the stories of exceptionally gifted designers, fused with the buzz and high fashion spectacle of a New York or Paris runway."

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick, who was at the launch, said she's excited by the concept and the potential for the event to help build the Rotorua brand.

"We have a vibrant local fashion and design community and this provides a professional contemporary Maori culture platform to promote growth in the local industry."

Henare Jewellery designer Nerida Johnstone said Tiki Ahua would allow aspiring, emerging and established designers to showcase their talents.

"A cross-section of creatives, serious about fashion as a career choice, get to connect with their fashion idols, industry experts and relevant support networks in a supportive, real-life experience, whilst gaining commercial and promotional opportunities, not easily obtained otherwise in this industry."

Adult tickets will range in price between $35 and $120 and can be bought from the venue or www.iticket.co.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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