Maori culture is centre stage in Washington DC, with the Tuku Iho Living Legacy exhibition wowing thousands of visitors.
Developed by the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), the exhibition presents more than 70 Maori works of art handcrafted by students and teachers from NZMACI, based at Te Puia in Rotorua.
It fuses traditional and contemporary displays of art, in-situ waka building, carving, live ta moko, kapa haka and contemporary performances.
Currently exhibiting within the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Tuku Iho Living Legacy runs until Sunday and has already welcomed more than 17,500 people, with thousands more at the various performances throughout the museum daily.
To promote the exhibition, Tuku Iho also performed kapa haka on the steps of the historic Lincoln Memorial, home to important events in US history, most notably where Martin Luther King jnr delivered his "I have a dream" speech in 1963.
Well-known and accomplished contemporary New Zealand musicians Ria Hall, Rob Ruha and Tama Waipara also feature as part of the exhibition.
Tuku Iho Living Legacy project director Karl Johnstone said the exhibition had achieved record-breaking daily visitor numbers in the first few days, highlighting the significant interest in Maori culture, traditions and people. At the same time, the exhibition has engaged more than 500,000 people online via social media channels.
Mr Johnstone said it was a privilege to be able to present Tuku Iho Living Legacy at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, one of the most frequented museums in the United States.
"The exhibition is a combination of traditional and contemporary disciplines and is a remarkable representation of the diversity and dynamism of Maori culture," said Mr Johnstone.
"The aim of the programme is to not only share Maori culture and New Zealand, but to also learn as much as we can about other cultures and to create dialogue about identity and its importance to our individual and collective well-being."
As part of the activities, a partly constructed 6m waka will be carved and completed onsite by NZMACI as a symbol of connection across the Pacific. Once completed, the waka will be gifted to the Smithsonian Institution by New Zealand AmbassadorTim Groser as part of the closing ceremony, becoming part of the Smithsonian's permanent collection.
Mr Johnstone said the kapa haka performance in front of the Lincoln Memorial highlighted the "living nature" of the exhibition.
"The performance wowed a live audience of more than 1500 people and has also been a huge hit online, already being viewed more than 40,000 times."
The exhibition is an initiative supported by NZinc including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Te Puni Kokiri, Tourism New Zealand and Education New Zealand.
Following Washington DC, Tuku Iho Living Legacy will travel to Venice Beach, Los Angeles in October, followed by Japan in 2019 as part of the lead up to the Rugby World Cup.