The first Māori public gallery, Te Huarewa Toi Wairau Māori, is being celebrated for its achievements only after opening nine months ago.
The gallery in Whangārei which is sited in the Hundertwasser Art Centre has received a Qualmark certification for providing a sustainable tourism gold-level organisation.
Wairau Māori Art Gallery Charitable trust chair Elizabeth Ellis (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou) said that the recognition put the gallery on the map as a reliable and exciting experience.
“We have landed on our feet; we have been recognised in another dimension; everything we do reflects Māori; we are totally Māori.”
Wairau is currently showing artist Shane Cotton's latest show, Kei Muri Ngā Mea I Te Rā, Things Behind The Sun which is his first solo exhibition in Te Tai Tokerau.
Ellis said the trust was thrilled to have Cotton's works on display in the gallery and that the exhibition had been received very well.
“It’s not just paintings and prints but there are three-dimensional works as well. You have to come and see it to appreciate what it is.”
Ellis said that the other important part of the Gallery is the Tuakana Teina programme which aims to usher through the next generation of Māori.
“The gallery director is a young person in their first ever time as a gallery director and she is being mentored by the director of the other gallery who is on trust and the director of Te Tuhi Pakuranga so they’re helping her through.”
Ellis said they also have a junior curator and writer for the catalogue that is learning their respective careers.