Contemporary Māori culture fashion show launches at Te Puia

Contemporary Māori fashion will make a grand entrance in a spectacular show set in an active geothermal landscape in Rotorua.

Contemporary Māori fashion is about to make a grand entrance in a spectacular show set in an active geothermal landscape in Rotorua.

Te Puia - New Zealand’s premier cultural and geothermal attraction, and the national centre for Māori arts and crafts – is set to host an inaugural fashion event featuring some of New Zealand’s top and upcoming indigenous designers.

The evening of contemporary Māori culture on 24 September,Tiki Ahua – Ka Mura: Set Alight – promises a spectacular show featuring fashion, design, music and dance extravaganza amidst the steam and swirling mist of Te Whakarewarewa Valley, an active volcanic field in Rotorua. 

The show will feature works by 22 Māori designers from throughout New Zealand, showcasing day, street, evening and avant-garde designs, jewellery and adornment including tā moko (Māori tattoo).

Local designers from Rotorua and across New Zealand will showcase their ranges on the runway, alongside other inspiring brands.

“An exciting part of this event is not only the incredible contemporary fashion, but also pulling through traditional Māori arts such as tā moko, pounamu and bone carving, which are then thrust into a pretty glitzy high fashion environment. It’s been beautiful to see everything come together and our New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute artists are loving that journey,” said Te Puia general manager sales and marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean.

Tiki Āhua artistic director, Turanga Merito – who is otherwise known for his role as Simba in the international Lion King stage show – has assisted the designers in showcasing their visions.

“I am excited as the artistic director to be able to bring a night of fire, love, and magic to my hometown, Rotorua,” Merito said. “This event is more than a fashion show – it is the coming together of our indigenous culture and the stories of exceptionally gifted designers, fused with the buzz and high fashion spectacle of a New York or Paris runway.”

There is a five-year vision for the event to grow from a one-night spectacle, to a week-long festival.

Concept behind Tiki Āhua – Kā Mura: Set Alight

Tiki Ahua draws inspiration from the unique history and environment of the local Te Arawa tribe, and their values and traditions of manaakitanga (hospitality), kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and whanaungatanga (kinship). 

The theme, Kā Mura | Set Alight, is inspired by the history of the subterranean goddesses of fire, Te Pūpū and Te Hoata, who created the geothermal imprint from the east coast of the North Island to the mountains of the Central Plateau. Kā describes the act of setting alight, while mura is a flame. Together, they describe the fostering of life and creation.

Te Puia Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, Rotorua

Te Puia - the Māori Arts & Crafts Institute based in Rotorua - was created in 1963 by the New Zealand Government to maintain and preserve Māori art forms, such as weaving, carving and cultural performance. Since then, the cultural institution’s carving and weaving schools have nurtured generations of budding Māori artists, as well as providing a space to showcase and sell authentic Māori art. At the same time, Te Puia - which sits at the entrance to Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley and overlooking the famed Pohutu geyser - has developed into one of New Zealand’s leading Māori cultural tourist attractions.