3 Oct 2012

Kermadec exhibition reveals ancient Maori connections

8:27 pm on 3 October 2012

Ancient Maori connections to Rangitahua or Raoul Island in the Kermadecs, north of New Zealand, is one of the many stories being told during an exhibition opening on Wednesday at the Wellington City Gallery.

Kermadec - Nine Artists in the South Pacific, captures the images, words and aspirations that inspired the group to make the most of a rare opportunity to visit New Zealand's northern most territory.

The gallery's Maori and Pacific arts curator Reuben Friend says the maritime tour of Rangitahua also revealed its Maori history.

He's heard stories of waka such as the Takitimu, sailing from Hawaiki and stopping at Raoul Island for repairs before sailing south to Aotearoa.

Mr Friend says Maori ancestors from Polynesia brought with them taro and other sub tropical vegetation that struggled to grow in the New Zealand climate, but can still be found flourishing on Raoul Island.

The Kermadec exhibition opens to the public on Thursday morning.