Atamira is back
Handprints of people from all walks of life will be left etched on a pou to mark the 2013 Atamira Maori in the City festival this weekend.
The free three-day event is the country's largest celebration of Maori culture, art, performance, sport and food and has a new home right in the heart of Auckland.
The cultural extravaganza will be held at The Cloud and Shed 10 on Queens Wharf and organisers hope its new location will encourage people of all cultures and ethnicities to take part, event director Alec Hawke of Ngati Whatua o Orakei says.
"We've been so successful in attracting Maori to previous festivals but it's an event that's open to all Aucklanders and we'd like to invite a broader audience to experience Atamira this year."
Thousands of people packed out Greenlane's ASB Showgrounds for the festival in 2011.
This year festival-goers can watch master carvers, weavers, artists and ta moko artists at work in an interactive area.
"Maori culture is at the roots of New Zealand's heritage and Atamira is a wonderful opportunity for people to come and explore their country's indigenous customs," Mr Hawke says.
The biennial event began in 2007 to showcase Maori culture.
Its whakairo (carving) area co-ordinator Graham Tipene is behind the initiative to make this year's effort more interactive.
"Our focus is on the skill set of the artist rather than the product because the skill comes first.
"The world might see the beauty of the end result but we want them to see the skill behind it."
People will be able to sit down with the artists and learn more about their craft.
It's all about conversation, Mr Tipene says.
"As Ngati Whatua we are guardians of the land and that means making sure people within our boundaries are looked after.
"So how I see it involving people of other cultures is doing that. The more we understand about each other the less we have to fear."
The festival aims to celebrate Maori heritage and the blending of contemporary cultures.
This year's entertainment line-up includes performances by Canadian-Aboriginal cultural group M'Girl.
Group member Renae Morriseau says members can't wait to perform at the event and share their indigenous culture with New Zealand.
"It is a privilege and an honour to be performing at Atamira.
"Some traditional songs we will be performing required special cultural permission to be sung outside of Canada," she says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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