As the Matariki cluster begins to light our night skies and invite a sense of renewal for the days ahead, a collective of artists and makers will look to one star in particular, Hiwa-i-te-Rangi. This star is has long been associated with ideas of looking forward, planning and hoping for prosperity in the coming year, making it the obvious source of inspiration for Viaduct Harbour‘s pop-up gallery, HIWA.
Opening this week, HIWA has been created and curated by Tuhirangi Blair, the creative behind clothing label Lucky Dip. For Blair, the curation process was very personal, resulting in a range of incredible Māori artists and makers, each showcasing the best of their métier. Here, pieces by Yonel Watene, Maraea Shaw, Ashleigh Taupaki, Te Ara Minhinnick and Atareta Black are (despite covering a variety of mediums) unified by the common themes of culture, hope and prosperity. And the result is something quite special.
“The vision for HIWA is to be a beacon along the Viaduct Harbour promenade where we showcase Māori excellence,” Blair shares. “There is a fantastic blend of up-and-coming talent alongside more established artists and makers.
"This year’s celebration of Matariki is monumental, as the first time this Māori holiday is being ‘officially’ acknowledged. But for Blair, Matariki has always been an important time, a time to remember the past, celebrate the present and prepare for the future. “I look forward to the broader communities within Aotearoa embracing and learning about these traditional practices and beliefs,” he reflects. “I’m hoping HIWA will provide a space in the city where people can escape the hustle and bustle and have a moment to themselves".
Having HIWA in a space frequented and beloved by Aucklanders from all walks of life is significant, located in Market Square, Viaduct Harbour’s humming epicentre. For the occasion, Viaduct Harbour handed over full creative control to Blair and the collective of artists, allowing Māori voices to tell the story of Matariki.
And while the pop-up gallery will form the focus of Viaduct Harbour’s Matariki celebrations, Blair also has other suggestions for honouring the holiday’s history. Being an occasion where food, family and festivities have always been at the forefront, he recommends taking a moment to reflect on the past year, reconnect with loved ones and spend some time outside. And considering that it’s the middle of the winter, Blair explains how Matariki is typically a time for sharing stories, enjoying each other’s company and preparing for the year ahead.
With all that in mind, this Matariki, we suggest heading down to Viaduct Harbour with your loved ones, strolling along the promenade, indulging in a celebratory meal at one of your favourite waterfront restaurants, and, of course, taking some time to experience the incredible creativity at play in HIWA.