Rotorua is making its mark on Tokyo this month with pop-up kapa haka performances in the street and a unique exhibition designed to give locals an insight into Māori culture.

During the Toku Iho exhibition developed by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, national secondary school kapa haka champions Raukura were supporting through special performances around the city.

Sebastian Douthett-Webster spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post from Japan and said performing was fantastic.

"It was a big honour to be there and to welcome everyone.

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"They were really amazed at our performance, it opened their eyes to our culture as the indigenous people of Aotearoa."

Head girl of Rotorua Girls' High School Atera Apirana after performing in Tokyo. Photo / Supplied
Head girl of Rotorua Girls' High School Atera Apirana after performing in Tokyo. Photo / Supplied

He said a highlight of the tour so far was a collaboration between Māori soul artist Rob Ruha and Japanese J-pop singer Jay'ed.

"It united those cultures together. It was beautiful.

"I've been in the state of mind that I don't wanna leave. It is such a beautiful place with beautiful people and a beautiful culture."

Ka Rere by Rob Ruha and Jay'ed

A unique musical collaboration combining Te Reo Māori and Japanese was launched in Tokyo at the Tuku Iho opening this week. Māori soul artist Rob Ruha and Japanese J-pop singer Jay’ed created this stunning track "Ka Rere". #TukuIhoTokyo

Posted by Tuku Iho - Living Legacy on Friday, 2 August 2019

Tuku Iho, Living Legacy project lead Kiri Atkinson-Crean said a key philosophy behind the exhibition is to connect and learn from other cultures.

She said the performance at the shrine would be the highlight.

"Tuku Iho is about exploring culture and identity.

"While physically our countries are thousands of kilometres apart, there are many things Māori and Japanese cultures have in common, particularly the use of stories to keep history alive, dance, art and the importance of ancient legacy to modern society."

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The exhibition includes more than 50 works of art.

Atkinson-Crean said while Tuku Iho would help encourage business connections, it was equally about learning, engaging with new people and sharing cultural experiences.

"Wherever we've gone around the world, the kapa haka performances have been particularly popular and it's been really special to involve the students in Japan, it means we can build our cultural connections for the generations to come."