Festival ‘out of this world’

Published date24 June 2022
Publication titleRotorua Weekender
“The experience was out of this world

“I, as a Māori, experienced a safe space overseas where indigeneity was celebrated and indigenous excellence was seen in every part of the festival.

“All people from organisers to designers, panelists and models were there to uplift every indigenous person.”

Ataraiti, (Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao, Tainui, Mataatua) who learned to weave from her mother Maria, was at the festival hosted by First Nations people earlier this month. It was a poignant time for her because Hemi, a younger brother of her late father Kuru Waretini, passed away just as she left our shores.

She thanks singer Maisey Rika for allowing the use of the song Pohutukawa for her presentation.

“One of the elements that brought our show together nicely was the waiata Pohutukawa.

“It acknowledges one of the stars of Matariki that signals our Māori new year.

“Pohutukawa is the star that helps us remember those who have passed away. I wanted a way to remember those who have passed throughout the show and so grateful to have it through this song.”

The festival brought together creative iwi taketake from all around the world. Ataraiti spent a number of years in the UK but her time in Toronto introduced her to even more people from different walks of life.

Ataraiti, who owns and operates Maru Creations, said their designs were received well from everyone.

“That ranged from the indigenous models wanting to know the story behind each piece to present them with justice on the stage, other designers wanting to have conversations...

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