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A large-scale art exhibition Toi is Rongoaa will open at Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato on Saturday 9 July. It showcases deeply personal new work from fourteen contemporary Maaori artists, made with support from Creative New Zealand.

Woven throughout the vibrant exhibition is the artists’ belief in the importance of creative practice to their wellbeing. The opening event is also a celebration of Matariki, with a family-friendly day full of free activities and events centred on wellbeing from the perspective of te ao Maaori (the Maaori world view).

Curated by Margaret Aull (Te Rarawa, Tuuwharetoa, Fiji) and Maree Mills (Ngaati Tuuwharetoa), Toi is Rongoaa features established artists Aimee Ratana, Dorothy Waetford, Elizabeth Gray, Eugene Kara, Hemi MacGregor, Hiria Anderson, Israel Birch, Leilani Kake, Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole, Louise Potiki Bryant, Margaret Aull, Natalie Robertson, Regan Balzer, and Tawhanga Nopera. The exhibition name can be translated in English as ‘art is wellbeing’.

“The title Toi is Rongoaa is a statement which identifies that at the core of toi is maatauranga (knowledge). If we understand what this is, then we can use it for our own wellbeing,” said artist and exhibition co-curator Margaret Aull.

“This iteration is part of a wider movement that presents ideas and messages, reinvesting power into toi to lead us out of unhealthy spaces. This exhibition serves as a tool for transformational change.“

“The power of creativity is shown through the varied mediums within this group show,” said exhibition co-curator Maree Mills.

“There’s traditional artistic methods like oil paint on canvas and sculpted clay, through to modern materials like fluorescent wool and steel. Music, movement, and vibrations – this is a sensory experience, even a spiritual experience.”

“It’s significant that Toi is Rongoaa opens during the 2022 Matariki ki Waikato Festival. It’s a time of year where we can commit to prioritising wellbeing through creative practice as we collectively mark the Maaori New Year, now and in future years,” said Waikato Museum’s Director of Museum and Arts, Liz Cotton.

“We’re very grateful for the support from the amazing creative practitioners in this exhibition and to Creative New Zealand which has enabled the artists to share this essential kaupapa with our community.”

Toi is Rongoaa is open to the public from Saturday 9 July. The opening day features a schedule of events, including a panel discussion at 1pm with artists from the exhibition. Entry is free.

Exhibition details

Toi is Rongoaa
Open from 9 July 2022 to 16 January 2023
Free entry

Event details

Matariki at the Museum: Toi is Rongoaa
10am to 4pm Saturday 9 July 2022
Free entry

Join us for a day of free activities, workshops, kids crafts, and live music as we mark Matariki by celebrating wellbeing from the perspective of te ao Maaori (the Maaori world view).


  • Mihi – opening karakia 10am – 10.15am
  • Raranga Aroha 10:15am – 12:15pm
    Learn how to make a whetu (star) ornament or kete koha (gift basket) with weaving group Te Roopu Aroha ki te Raranga
  • The Healing Vibration of Taonga Puoro 10:15am – 10:45am
    Elizabeth Gray introduces the power of traditional Māori musical instruments
  • The Colour of Stars 10:15am – 12:15pm
    Pompom making for tamariki with crochet artists Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole
  • Children’s crafts 10:30am – 12pm
    With Tui Tamara Kirkwood
  • Koorero Rongoaa 10:30am – 11:30am
    David Kukutai Jones offers an introduction to traditional rongoaa (Maaori medicine).
  • Ihirangaranga 11am – 12:45pm
    Painting to the vibration of sound with Regan Balzer, Horomono Horo, and guests
  • Koorero Toi: Toi is Rongoaa 1pm – 2pm
    A panel discussion with artists Margaret Aull, Eugene Kara, Lissy and Rudi Robinson Cole, Regan Balzer, Dorothy Waetford and others featured in the exhibition Toi is Rongoaa.
  • Children’s crafts 1pm – 2pm
    With Tui Tamara Kirkwood
  • Raranga Aroha 1:15pm – 3:30pm
    Learn how to make a whetu (star) ornament or kete koha (gift basket) with weaving group Te Roopu Aroha ki te Raranga
  • Slipstream 2pm – 3pm
    The healing powers of clay mirimiri (traditional massage) with Dorothy Waetford
  • Puurakau 2pm – 3pm
    The power of storytelling with Maria Huata
  • Karakia – closing prayer 4pm

Note: Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga O Waikato uses double vowels in te reo Maaori to represent a long vowel sound as it is the preference of the Waikato–Tainui iwi. Artist names and other titles are shown in their original form.


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