An upcoming exhibition in Whangārei will showcase the best of young Ngāpuhi artists.
The Taiohī Taiohā exhibition will be held at Hihiaua Cultural Centre from May 10 to 28.
The exhibition is the culmination of a series of wānanga that have been ongoing since February, as a part of the Toi Ngāpuhi wānanga taiohi programme.
"I have rarely been exposed to opportunities such as this and I am very grateful for the knowledge and taonga that the ringatoi from the previous wā have passed on to not only me but the entire rōpu," said participating artist Te Awa Neumann (Ngāti Hine, Ngātiwai, Ngāti Rehua).
Established in 2019, Toi Ngāpuhi is an advocacy and support agency working across Te Tai Tokerau with various cultural and creative networks.
The aim is to revitalise distinctive and unique cultural identity, protecting Ngāpuhi culture, improving hapū wellbeing and cultural esteem through cultural expression, establishing benchmarks of cultural integrity and authenticity, and fostering talent and opportunity.
The series of wānanga is targeted at enabling youth between 16 and 24 to benefit from the skills and experience of leading Ngāpuhi creative practitioners.
The wānanga, held at marae from the Hokianga to Whangārei, are for selected taiohi who showed creative potential in a broad range of fields including visual arts, performing arts and the creative digital arts. They were also expected to have the desire to learn more about their whakapapa and reo.
"Through this kaupapa I have developed friendships with crazy talented and amazing creatives, and I am so grateful to be in this toi journey with them," said Symphony Morunga.
During the programme, taiohi have been immersed in creative workshops, wānanga, whakapapa kōrero and hītori, led by some of Ngāpuhi's leading practitioners from across Te Taitokerau.
At the completion of the exhibition, the taiohi will go on to a wānanga toi in June and work alongside ringatoi from across Te Taitokerau prior to graduating.
"Preparing for our exhibition has been really scary with prepping all my natural resources and making sure I have enough of everything but I've been blessed with having guidance from all our kaiako, ringatoi and the taiohi," Morunga said.
Tutors for the first wānanga held in February at Waiwhatawhata Marae, just south of Omapere, included Nikau Hindin, Alex Nathan, Charles Royal, Makareta Jahnke, Ngariki Ngatae, Kawiti Waetford, Horomona Horo, and Noa Campbell.
It was led by Bethany Matai Edmunds and Dorothy Waetford, both of whom are award-winning artists. The programme then went to Kauhanga Marae in Peria and is set to visit Terenga Parāoa Marae in Whangārei next month.