Female strength is celebrated with the latest exhibition at Whanganui's Gallery on Guyton.

Artists Jhonelle Kara, Naani Waitai, Rere Sutherland, Tanea Ngapeka, Ta Piri and Rena Star have combined their talents for a group exhibition that portrays aspects of womanly courage.

"Mana Wahine is the authority," explains Star.

"She has the prestige of the ability to bear children and ensure the existence and evolution of humankind bestowed upon her by the gods."


Jhonelle Kara brings a young voice to the group with her paintings Ko wai au and Wahine Toa.

"They express her recognition and gratitude for all the women, who helped make her the woman she is today," says Star.

Naani Waitai's painting Ngati Rangi was completed during iwi negotiations for Treaty settlement claims.

"She was thinking of Te One Tapu which lies to the east of Ruapehu and the vast active heavens from whence Paerangi descended," Star explains.

"It depicts the special gifts that were required from the people in all realms to reach settlement."

Rere Sutherland's work explores Mana Wahine through women's bleeding and reclaiming it from the stigmatisation of generations past.

Star's own work Te Kore, Te Po (the void and the darkness of creation) is about all that ever was and that which will be, she says.

"It represents the unlimited potential for being - representing creation through the embodiment of females," she says.

Mana Wahine: Gallery on Guyton, 62 Guyton St, 62 Guyton Street, 11am to 4pm daily until March 25.