He Taonga Te Reo

Jun 17 2017 – Oct 15 2017

Rangi Kipa, Navigator, 2008. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 2009.

Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori 

He Taonga Te Reo (the treasure of language) celebrates 30 years of te reo Māori being recognised as an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand.  Languages come in many forms - we can use words, symbols or patterns to say something. Until the 19th century, Māori was an oral culture instead of a written language and meaning was embodied in weaving, carving, architecture, tattoo, dance and song. He Taonga Te Reo shows Māori language as central to Māori culture, and opens the door to te ao Māori, the Māori world.

Te reo Māori is central to Māori identity as it communicates cultural knowledge and whanaungatanga (relationships), and provides a sense of belonging. Used to describe whakapapa (genealogy) and to share pepeha (an introduction that establishes heritage and identity), language is an important way of expressing who we are and what we believe.

The works shown in He Taonga Te Reo were by artists Michael Parekowhai, Rangi Kipa, Hemi MacGregor, Marilynn Webb, Ngahiraka Mason, Ralph Hotere, Mathew McIntyre-Wilson, Shane Cotton, Gina Matchitt, and Areta Wilkinson.