27 Jun 2023

Christchurch City Libraries are excited to be hosting a mini exhibition of contemporary Māori Art from Toihoukura – School of Māori Art and Design based in Gisborne.

Led by Sir Derek Lardelli, professor at Toihoukura, Te Rā i Whiti exhibition features small works his students have created to tautoko/support the homecoming of the traditional woven harakeke - NZ flax sail Te Rā.

Toihoukura logo

Currently held at the British Museum, Te Rā is the only known customary Māori sail still in existence. Te Rā returns, on loan, to Aotearoa at the end of June for display at the exhibition Te Rā – The Māori Sail, opening Saturday 8 July at Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery.

Te Rā Tū by Tā | Sir Derek Lardelli, Ink on harakeke paper

Over 200 years old, this stunning example of weaving and navigational expertise is believed to have left Aotearoa New Zealand around the time of Cooks arrival on the ship Endeavor.

“The return of Te Rā is a significant moment not only for Māori but for all New Zealanders, as there are few authentic taonga of this nature from this era that we can welcome home, mihi and learn from,” says Sir Lardelli.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says Te Rā i Whiti is a fitting complimentary event leading into the opening of Te Rā – The Māori Sail. 

“Christchurch City Libraries are thrilled to be supporting both exhibitions through hosting this Toihoukura exhibition.”

Te Rā i Whiti opens the evening of Tuesday 4 July and runs daily until Sunday 9 July. The exhibition will be located Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2 in Tūranga.

Come along and view the artworks and learn more about contemporary Māori arts.