Tatau was once widespread throughout the Cook Islands until the arrival of the missionaries who discouraged the practice. RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins
Traditional tatau tools used by ta tatau artist Tetini Pekepo. RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins
Master tatau artist Tetini Pekepo says there is still a stigma surrounding tattoo and he holds lengthy talks with his customers to ensure their tatau is appropriate. RNZ/ Daniela Maoate-Cox
Part of tatau artist Tetini Pekepo's kit. RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins
Tetini Pekepo lays out his tools at New Zealand's Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington to show the public how he creates his art. RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins
Some eager young men quiz Tetini Pekepo about tatau at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
"Tatau represents a time in someone's life" - master tatau artist Tetini Pekepo. RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins
A Cook Islands drum. RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins
Drummer Mark Short demonstrating some rhythms at New Zealand's Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington. RNZ/ Daniela Maoate-Cox
Cook Islands drum beats are complex and can take many years to master. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Bongo drums used as part of a Cook Islands drum set up. Drummer and composer Mark Short says he likes to place as many as six drums in front of one drummer.
Stamina and a sense of rhythm are necessary to keep the beat going. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Master Drummer Mark Short says he will teach anyone who wants to learn, including girls who are not traditionally taught the skill. RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox
Vaka navigator Tua Pittman says each vaka carries the kaupapa or heritage of the tribe that sails that canoe and people can learn their history by journeying across the ocean.
The Hōkūle‘a has traveled around the world for four decades using traditional navigation techniques. Tua Pittman says he was inspired to learn navigation after seeing the Hōkūle‘a 30 years ago. RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox
Costume designer and choreographer Minar Henderson says people get caught up in the "bling bling" style of feathers and synthetic materials. RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox
Natural fibres such as pandanus are used to create costumes. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
A selection of the costumes curated by Minar Henderson for 2015 maeva nui celebrations in the Cook Islands. Ms Henderson says most of the designers are men. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Collecting the natural fibres and preparing them to be woven into a costume is a laborious task but Minar Henderson says the resources are easy enough to obtain and people just need to make an effort. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Shells and seeds are also collected to create costumes for dancers. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
A pair of earrings weaved by Jemima Peau. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Weaver Jemima Peau uses natural, shells coconut fibre and pandanus to create her hats, fans, and earrings. RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox
Weaving is a source of income for many Cook Island woman with a hat like this retailing for about $200 NZ dollars. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Shells are also weaved into fans and hats. Pictured is the top of a hat weaved by Jemima Peau. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Master weaver Jemima Peau with her art on the table in front of her. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Decorative flowers are also weaved out of pandanus and coconut fibres. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Tungane Broadbent produces tivaevae in all of its forms: manu (two tone Tivaevae usually with patterns of flowers and leaves), tataura (applique and embroidery) and taorei (the stitching together of tiny squares). RNZ/Koroi Hawkins.
Tivaevae is a Cook Islands version of quilting that was brought to the islands by the missionaries. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins
Tungane Broadbent chats about tivaevae with other sewers. On the right of the table is a tivaevae taorei in progress. Each square is about 1.5cm and hand-stitched into various patterns. RNZ/Koroi Hawkins.
The Cook Islands master artists in New Zealand as part of a Creative New Zealand artist exchange. From left to right: Tetini Pekepo, Tua Pittman, Minar Henderson, Tungane Broadbent, Jemima Peau, and Mark Short. RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox