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Whangarei festival sees student art bask in positive light

30 Nov 2011

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .

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Whangarei's Art Beat festival was the perfect place to showcase work from students of NorthTec's Certificate in whakairo.

The Art Beat festival at Whangarei's Cafler Park Rose Gardens on Saturday was the perfect backdrop for this year's NorthTec Certificate in Whakairo (Visual Arts) students to showcase some special work. It also brought attention to the institution's Maori Arts programme Expo at Raumanga campus.

The NorthTec stand at Art Beat, manned by Whakairo (carving) tutor Korotangi Kapa-Kingi, publically displayed five musical instruments that four of his students Akara Maihi, Kauangarua Kingi, Hoana Paul and Tevita Fotu had worked on during the introductory certificate during Semester 2. The instruments displayed included a percussion drum, two trumpets (similar to ones used at the start of matches during Rugby World Cup 2011) and two flutes.

The percussion drum, known as a pahu which is made of swamp kauri, is what Maori traditionally used to communicate with that the four students had helped Korotangi with.

He said working collaboratively with the students helps to "feed their minds" and gives them added enthusiasm for learning with all the Maori Arts courses at NorthTec often working in together to openly encourage one another and share in their achievements.

The results of this close-quarter collaboration was on public display on Tuesday night at the annual Maori Art exhibition with so many people turning out to celebrate the year's work and achievements of both the Te Puna and Maori Arts students, with some of the crowd having to watch the official proceedings from outside.

Korotangi says the expo showcased the different disciplines and mediums in Maori Art that the general public was able to come and have a look at and to show that the Maori medium is able to be used to discover a career path.

NorthTec provides for various pathways in Maori Art in Whakairo (carving), Stone, Feathers and Fibres, Te Raranga (weaving) and Maori weaponry that includes at certificate and diploma levels and can be a lead into the Bachelor of Applied Arts degree.

While on the Certificate in Whakairo course this year, Korotangi said all 21 of his students have been taught "ground-based root systems" for their carving that asked them to explore their whakapapa and turangawaewae (where they come from) to help them in their creative exploration.

"It enables them to learn about themselves and incorporate that heritage into their carvings. If they are not too sure what it is like to be Maori, this course empowers them and they are then able to tackle any job they want," he said of the philosophy behind the teachings on the course.

He said the personal research involved, and the collaborative approach shared by students across the Maori Arts programme had been useful to engage younger ones and have them stay-the-course, which served as testimony to what is being achieved at the Raumanga campus.

"I'm extremely pleased, all of our student's work is of the highest standard," he remarked.

ENDS