It will be a meeting of cultures and sharing of stories as eight Maori artists with Northland links head to Australia tomorrow to work with Aboriginal artists.

Dargaville clay artist Colleen Urlich and seven other artists with links to Te Taitokerau will fly to Yeppoon, Queensland tomorrow to work for 12 days with a group of Aboriginal artists.

"It will culminate in an exhibition. It's a sharing of technique ... it's a wonderful collaborative art," she said.

Mrs Urlich, who was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori art in the Queen's New Year Honours, said the creative relationship between Northland Maori artists and Aboriginal artists has existed for around five years.


"It's been an ongoing collaboration. In January 2014 we had Kokiri Putahi in Kaikohe where indigenous artists from around the world came together for a week. We were learning the whole time," she said.

Mrs Urlich said the trust the artists had in each other was one of the main reasons the group worked well together.

"To work with any professional artist on that level requires a huge level of trust and some of these artists are meeting for the first time.

"There is story telling and sharing of culture so you get to appreciate each other and that promotes lovely collaborative art."

Whangarei artist Victor Te Paa, who is travelling with the group, said working with artists from a different culture required a will to learn.

"The first time we worked was them was different," he said.

"They don't like people looking at them straight in the eye so we had to learn that. You have to learn about each other's culture and be respectful."

The group will be based at Byfield Bush Camp.

"You can do anything with a computer but we're going back to basics," said Mrs Urlich.

"We will be working in tropical conditions under canvas in the middle of bush - it's a national park I believe."