Rotorua Tuku Iho performers will again entertain American masses

By Mānia Clarke

Rotorua's Tuku Iho, the Living Legacy exhibition haka performers will again entertain American crowds, this time at Los Angeles popular Venice Beach.

It's last minute brush up for Tukuiho performers who will entertain tourists at Los Angeles second most visited attraction, Santa Monica pier.

“It's good to see foreigners, Māori and Kiwi ex-pat's come to watch us perform and see our Māori treasures, the carvings and tā moko happening,” said performer Anaha Hiini. “They really enjoy that.”

Safety is paramount for the 19 performers, many weavers, traditional carvers and tā moko artists who will be travelling.

“Our bosses thought it would be good to show our customs and Māori aspects to the indigenous peoples of LA,” said tā moko artist and carver, Arekatera Maihi.

Earlier this year the exhibition show was held in Washington DC's Smithsonian Museum. More than one million people engaged with the 70 works of art, live tā moko, kapa haka and pounamu (greenstone) carvings on site.

“Some places have no idea who Māori are. They don't know New Zealand, but that's fine,” said Hiini. “We're here to promote our culture and treasures so that they learn who we are and where we are from.” 

“When the indigenous people see the traditional art pieces perhaps they relate to it because their artefacts are similar to ours,” said Maihi.

Tuku Iho is expected to open on the 23rd of this month.