Kiwi supermodel Rachel Hunter has thrown her support behind a Maori culture exhibition that opened in the United States last week.

The Tour of Beauty star says it is critical the voices of indigenous cultures are heard around the world, and described Tuku Iho Living Legacy as extraordinary.

It was great to see the voice of Maori shared around the world, Hunter said.

Tuku Iho opened on the famous Santa Monica Pier in Venice Beach last week and Hunter is just one of the California-based Kiwis who flocked to see how Maori culture has been shown in their home away from home.


Kiwi actors Millen Baird and Outrageous Fortune star Siobhan Marshall said the exhibition made many in the crowd homesick.

It was cool to see "a little country at the bottom of the world" showcasing its culture in the United States, Baird said.

The exhibition was developed by the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, which is based at Te Puia in Rotorua.

Tuku Iho features more than 70 works of art handcrafted by students and teachers, including carving on the site and live ta moko, kapa haka and contemporary performances and presentations.

For the first time pounamu carving will be carried out during the exhibition.

Karl Johnstone, Tuku Iho's project director, said there had been significant interest in the exhibition and the events associated with it, including the kapa haka performances.

New Zealand artists and musicians Rob Ruha, Majic and Teeks are also performing as part of the exhibition.