Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle will open the first major arts show of South Pacific artists in the United Kingdom, featuring a number of New Zealand artists.

The Oceania exhibition opens in London's Royal Academy of Arts on Tuesday, and includes works by some of New Zealand's highest-profile Maori and Pasifika artists.

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni, who will represent New Zealand at the opening, said it would be an honour to have Markle there.

"The exhibition is a stunning display of the Pacific region's art and culture and will provide rich insights before the Duke and Duchess' Royal tour of New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Tonga next month," she said.

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Oceania comes on the 250th anniversary of the start of Captain Cook's first Endeavour expedition to the South Pacific. The Royal Academy of Arts was founded the same year - 1768.

"Art work spanning more than 500 years will be on show for the first time in this exhibition," Sepuloni said.

"It is one of the largest collections of traditional and contemporary Māori, Polynesian and Melanesian art ever to be displayed in the United Kingdom."

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle (left) will open the first major art show of Oceanic artists in London on Tuesday.
Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle (left) will open the first major art show of Oceanic artists in London on Tuesday.

Among the works being shown will be Michael Parekowhai's famous red Steinway piano, called He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: The Story of a New Zealand River.

Other artists to be featured at the exhibition include Fiona Pardington, John Pule, Mark Adams, Yuki Kiharaand, Lisa Reihana, and the Mata Aho Collective.

New Zealand, along with Tonga and Papua New Guinea, are co-sponsors of the exhibition.

It is free for New Zealand and Pacific Island passport holders.