Maori-mad Brazilians brought to tears by Tuku Iho event in Rio de Janeiro

LAURA MCQUILLAN/stuff.co.nz

The who's who of Brazilian tourism is moved to tears by a Maori cultural event in Rio de Janeiro, while others are getting a permanent mark of Kiwi culture. Laura McQuillan reports.

A Rotorua kapa haka might be Brazil's biggest cover act since Frank Sinatra, with a te reo version of The Girl from Ipanema bringing Brazilian VIPs to tears.

The Rio de Janeiro performance of one of Brazil's most famous songs was a surprise for a who's who of tourism and politics at the opening of Maori art and culture exhibit Tuku Iho on Friday (NZ time).

Also in the audience was Paulo Jobim, son of the song's composer, Tom Jobim. He later told organisers the performance was beautiful, and his heart hurt with emotion.

A Brazilian audience was brought to tears by a kapa haka rendition of The Girl from Ipanema.
SUPPLIED

A Brazilian audience was brought to tears by a kapa haka rendition of The Girl from Ipanema.

Many thousands of other Rio residents will be treated to the same experience over the next two weeks, during the event backed by Rotorua tourism and cultural organisation Te Puia, and its Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI).

The kapa haka, accompanied by Kiwi singer Ria Hall, will perform at sites like the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, and as the pre-match entertainment before Brazil's biggest club football team kicks off at Maracana Stadium.

At an exhibition space in Rio's botanic gardens, master carver James Rickard will complete a huge carving, surrounded by an installation of Maori art.

But for many Brazilians, the biggest appeal of Tuku Iho is a trio of ta moko tattooists, who'll leave a permanent mark on about 60 locals.

In Rio, many tattoo studios offer the option of "a Maori" - a label used to describe various tribal tattoos, which are in hot demand among locals.

The name drew a chuckle from ta moko artist Arekatera 'Katz' Maihi.

"It's all good. As Maoris, we'd like to think that we could go into any shop and ask for a Brazilian," he quipped.

Ad Feedback

As an added bonus, Tuku Iho's tattoos are free of charge: thanks to Brazil's infamous bureaucracy, organisers are unable to charge for the experience.

It's hoped the event will help ensure the "Maori" tattoos that Brazilian artists create are more homage than cultural appropriation.

"Hopefully what we're doing is creating those discussions about integrity in art forms," says NZMACI's director Karl Johnstone.

"We can be, sometimes, oversensitive around the use of our design ... Really it's about having knowledge about which forms are okay to use, which are generic, and sometimes which have more meaning associated with them and should only be used by particular people at certain times."

Tuku Iho has a number of aims: showcasing culture, building indigenous ties, and encouraging tourism and trade.

The group will meet with the Amazonian Indian tribe Kayapo, and teach rugby to locals, who are increasingly switching codes from their beloved football.

Brazil is the third destination for Tuku Iho, following exhibitions in Chile and Argentina, which stemmed from a 2012 waka voyage from the Far North to Easter Island.

Johnstone admits South America's red tape has added extra costs to the exhibition - funded by Te Puia from its Rotorua tourism business - but the organisation is able to cover the additional expenses from elsewhere in its budget.

But the added cost seems worth it: before the event even opened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian tourism operators were already expressing interest in adding New Zealand to their destinations.

Te Puia's chief executive Tim Cossar says South Americans tend to find Maori culture, particularly performances, "unbelievably powerful".

Of a recent performance in Sao Paulo, Cossar says, "unlike a lot of audiences, they actually gravitated to the front and wanted to be very close to the performers, where a lot of countries - because it's quite loud and can be seen as quite aggressive - they sort of stand back."

He has high hopes for a massive leap in South American tourist numbers to New Zealand - from 26,000 last year, to as many as 150,000 a year by 2020 - after Air New Zealand adds Argentina to its flight paths in December.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Baby born in mall toilets

The baby was rushed to Starship Hospital in critical condition after it was born at Sylvia Park mall. (File photo)

Baby was rushed to hospital with its mum, in critical condition, after she gave birth on Friday.

Woman assaulted in own driveway

The brutal attack happened on Sutherland Road in Point Chevalier.

"She was assaulted from behind without warning, while approaching her own car, in her own driveway."

Police urge caution on wet roads

A driver and a house escaped unscathed after this car skidded off the road.

A driver has had a near-miss with a house on the slippery roads.

Storm: What you need to know

Sloane Tce residents are knee-deep in water.

Flooding has hit many parts of the country, with towns cut off and states of emergencies declared.

Wellington

Wellington loses Si and Gary show

Wellingtonians won't hear Si & Gary on their breakfast show anymore.

But they'll get something more local in return - Polly and Grant.

Man caught with gun

A man was arrested after police found a loaded shotgun in a car. (FILE PHOTO)

Gang tension is believed to be be behind the arrest of a man carrying a loaded shotgun in Masterton.

How to stop begging? video

Marcus Pohio is homeless and regularly begs on Courtenay Place, in Wellington.

The only thing that will get Marcus Pohio off the street is death. But is public generosity speeding that up?

Ex-British Cars House for sale

The building features a tiled lobby and a vintage cage lift.

1920s character building with penthouse apartment and rooftop on the market.

Canterbury

State of emergency in Chch

Christchurch's Heathcote River was in flood on Saturday morning.

Flooded residents near Heathcote River in Chch evacuated in boats as current is too strong to evacuate on foot.

Live: Southern deluge 

Rescue workers evacuate residents in Heathcote, Christchurch, by boat after city officials order people out of parts of ...

State of emergencies declared in several areas as flood waters force scores of evacuations.

Heathcote residents trapped

Waimea Terrace resident Tarapreet Singh, 25.

The kitchen sink is brimming with water and the nearly overflowing toilet is unflushable.

Slip hits house in Oamaru

Julie Everson's property suffered damage from a cliff collapsing.

Julie Everson was sitting in her living room as fierce rain belted her home when she heard an "almighty crash".

Waikato

Historic cottage illegally destroyed

This Huntly coal-mining cottage in Tregoweth Street was torn down illegally by its owner, Kevin David Lynch, in January 2016.

The owner was fined $10,000 after he bulldozed the late Victorian coal miner's cottage.

Body in bale ruling

The body was found at OJI Fibre Solutions and FullCircle Recycling on June 28 in Frankton's Pukeko Street.

If it hadn't been raining, Daniel Bindner might not have crawled into a cardboard recycling cage.

Crash closes SH1

Police are at the scene of a crash on SH1 north of Turangi which has blocked the road.

Contractors working to clear State Highway 1 north of Turangi after a truck rolls.

Quad bike safety an attitude thing

Trauma data reveals a huge peak in quad bike injuries among the 55-to-65 age group.

Wintec students look to solve the problem of quad bike accidents.

Taranaki

Terrier looking for a friend

210717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Katie Tahere's dog Mocha is looking for a walking buddy after her dog Coco ...

Mocha is looking for a new walking companion after losing her best friend.

Farewells not the focus

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the team aren't focusing on rallying together to try and send the departees out on a high.

Any game now could be the last for several stalwarts, but the Chiefs aren't using departures as motivation.

Building gets new roof

The New Plymouth District Council decided in January to use shingles instead of corrugated iron on the Gables under ...

The Gables Gallery's shiny new roof looks the part, thanks to 20,000 new shingles

From reporter to magical nanny

Not quite as graceful as Mary Poppins, but reporter Tara Shaskey gets a first-hand lesson on the production's flying stunts.

Mary Poppins is just a little bit magical. And that doesn't come easy or cheap.

Manawatu

Fetch not always a fun game

Chasing sticks can be a dangerous game, write vet Malcolm Anderson.

OPINION: Vet Malcolm Anderson offers some words of advice about the dangers of playing fetch.

No random drug tests 

Only following a police shooting do officers undergo drug and alcohol testing. (File photo).

Police are only given drug and alcohol testing if they fire a gun during an incident.

Cost to fix police cars peaks

A police car comes to a final halt after crashing through a Hamilton property in June.

More than $8 million has been spent fixing damaged police cars in the past three years.

Moon landing celebrated 

Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon.

MEMORY LANE: Do you remember the first Moon landing?

Nelson

Buzz about beekeeping

05062015 News Photo: Marion van Dijk / Fairfax NZ.

Urban beekeeper Nigel Costley with one of his beehives in the ...

Nelsonians keen to learn more about keeping bees can do so in a short course through the Nelson Environment Centre.

Event steam punked

Paul Kelly, left, and Ross Wearing at the Big Night Out  steampunk fantasy fundraiser for the Nelson Tasman Hospice on ...

Sci-fi met Victorian class at the Nelson/Tasman Hospice Big Night Out event.

Trespass case win

Lawyer John Fitchett has won a trespass case against Nelson College.

Lawyer wins case against Nelson College board meetings, but judge unimpressed.

Dancers put their best foot forward

Lillian Southward performs in the Jazz Solo section at the Nelson Performing Arts Competitions 83rd Annual Festival at ...

 Toes were on point at the performing arts competition held over the weekend.

Marlborough

All hands on deck

John's Kitchen supervisor Richard McDonald likes the idea that food can be an expression of care.

Blenheim charity kitchen takes on new staff to cope with high workload.

Team turned around

The MBC Falcons rugby team had a frustrating day on Friday.

MBC First XV rugby team spent around 14 hours in a bus yesterday, then never even got to pull their boots on.

The next big quake

The Adelphi Hotel, in Kaikoura, was pulled down due to earthquake damage.

It's impossible to say when an earthquake is going to strike. But the predictable patterns of aftershocks can help.

Exploring Africa

The Hansby family at Victoria Falls, from left, Luke Hansby, Fleur Hansby, Nick Hansby and Sam Hansby.

When you plan your trip to Africa, the animals and environment are expected to be the main attraction.

South Canterbury

Power crews tackle cuts

A firefighter, from the Washdyke station, and a Netcon worker tackle a burning power pole on the Pleasant Point Highway ...

Pleasant Point residents urged to restrict power use as crews work to restore supply.

Mackenzie blanketed 

Heavy snow is falling in Tekapo.

Snow is still falling in the Mackenzie after a dumping overnight.

Farmers combat deluge

Federated Farmers branch chairman Mark Adams said farmers always prepared for bad weather and made sure they had extra ...

Reports of farmers stranded after storm damages culverts, creeks and fences.

State of emergency lifted gallery video

Gus, left, and Tom Cameron check out the damage to Stanton Rd, at Kimbell near Fairlie, after it was washed out overnight.

A state of emergency has been lifted in the Timaru District.

Southland

Stewart Island heritage gets $1m

An artist's impression of the Rakiura Heritage Centre. The centre has received, over $1 million in Government funding to ...

The Government is to commit $1.08m to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust.

Post-funeral brawl

Police and ambulance were alerted to the incident, but were not eventually required.

A post-funeral gathering in Bluff on Thursday night ended with blood, broken glass and a visit from the police.

Irrigation scheme 'a win-win'

Dairy Creek Ltd director Tim O'Sullivan, Pioneer Energy chief executive Fraser Jonker and Pioneer Energy project manager ...

A $10m irrigation scheme near Alexandra, Central Otago, is going to deliver water to about 1800 hectares of barren land.

Gecko stolen from visitor centre

The Marlborough green gecko that was stolen from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau.

An at risk gecko has been stolen from the DoC visitor centre in Fiordland.

Ad Feedback