Whether it’s the weather, global events or social and political situations here in
Aotearoa, 2023 will be remembered for its extreme ups and downs. It is coming to
an end so time to note some highlights:
The Hihiaua Cultural Centre started the year with some wind damage during Cyclone
Gabrielle but we fixed things up after the storm and carried on, as we do here in Tai
Whangarei District Council staff brought in a delegation of diplomats en route to
Waitangi in early February. They came from all parts of the World happily travelling
together on a big bus, pleased to learn about our lovely, little city. As unlikely as it
now seems, the ambassadors of both Palestine and Israel had afternoon tea
together and posed for photos with us.
In March we hosted a wonderful group of indigenous Taiwanese artists here under
the sponsorship of New Plymouth’s Govett Brewster Gallery.
The 2023 series of workshops began; including Tapu and Noa, Taonga Puoro, Uku
and Mahinga Kai leading into Puanga/Matariki when we held another series of
Exhibitions this year have been diverse – from the photographic works of French
photographer Lauren Pasquier’s “Wahine” to Te Runga Raupa, Tupuake and
Pāpaki Tu. Te Raumati – Summer Group Show which features 40 kaitoi, mainly
from Tai Tokerau is the latest. There are clay and porcelain works and a beautiful
selection of one off jewellery pieces.
Whakairo works by several of the Hihiaua carvers are also in the show as well as
exquisite examples of raranga. A colourful range of hand printed shirts and pareu
along with a large selection of new books for all ages completes the exhibition which
is on for the next few weeks.
Hihiaua continues to build capacity and encourage cultural capability through
relationships with others like the national Rāta Tarai Waka project and internationals
like Collaborationz and Gonzaga University of Washington State who visited this
year. Locals Te Kowhai Print Trust, HĀ, Hine Kopu and Mama Moving Mountains
have all worked at Hihiaua this year in a wide range of activities and events.
Hihiaua carvers have completed some major commissions and continue to work
together and individually on others.
Hihiaua trustees have continued to meet the challenges and move forward with
plans for Stage 2. Work began this month on the renovation of the old function
centre formally known as A’fare and we have had input into WDC’s landscaping
plans for the peninsula. Keep an eye out for what emerges behind the fence in the
While 2024 will present even more new challenges like wilder weather, cruise ships
docking at Marsden Point and political haututu to name just a few – we remain
positive and grateful we can rely on whanau/hapori support so we stand united to
face whatever comes our way.
The Hihiaua Cultural Centre is open again for business seven days a week for just
viewing, shopping or hiring spaces from January 3, 2024. Happy new year, kia
haumaru, kia maia, ngā mihi mahana – kia ora koutou!