Wāhine- The touring Exhibition, arrives in Hamilton this weekend

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 11 November 2022

Silver Ravenwolf said Strong Women are not born, they are forged in the fires they have had to walk through. They are warriors with hearts of gold.

And if you have a lineage of innumerable strong women, you owe them a celebration of their struggles, beauty, courage, and unique stories.

One such beautiful touring multi-media exhibition amplifying Māori women’s voices around Aotearoa is coming to Hamilton Central Library from Saturday 12 November to  Sunday 11 December 2022.

The exhibition, called Wāhine, offers our communities the opportunity to be enriched by their life stories while fostering mutual understanding.

Here in Hamilton, Te Rita Papesch (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaue, Czech) joins the kaupapa and the exhibition’s journey around the North Island.

“I’m proud that as a Māori woman, everything I’ve done, I have also enjoyed. It’s been hard, it’s been a struggle, but it’s been so much fun. And again, I know I am filling up the pot that will be left for my descendants,” said Te Rita Papesch.

Through personalised sound stories and portrait photography, Wāhine is an immersive exhibition inviting communities to come together, be inspired, and learn from the raw, honest, and vulnerable stories of Māori women.

Nelson exhibition held in February

The stories touch on their joys and inspirations, their troubles and tribulations, and the resilience that has moulded them into the women they are. The powerful words of each interview are woven together with real-life recordings captured by the women themselves and exhibited alongside a photography portrait of each Wāhine.
“My hope in creating this work is that Wāhine will inspire empathy for the stories we hear and reflect that same empathy onto ourselves. Because I do believe it is through empathy and respect that we can start to acknowledge each other,” said Loren Pasquier, Wāhine Creative Director.

While it travels around Aotearoa, Wāhine expands each time it changes locations by inviting a Wāhine from the local iwi to join the kaupapa and hold space for the other women. Hamilton is the second of eight North Island centres to exhibit Wāhine. Te Rita’s story will join nine other wahine who shared their stories and toured the South Island, and our first North Island centre, Hawkes Bay.

Hastings Wahine exhibition

Hamilton City Council Community Services Unit Director Rebecca Whitehead said this is an incredible opportunity for the community to learn more about the stories of these incredible Māori women while also supporting our library community.

“This exhibition will bring with it a chance for Hamiltonians to listen to and learn from these strong and impactful wahine stories,” she said. “We’re proud to be able to host this exhibition at Hamilton Central Library and provide a space for the stories of these strong and impactful wahine stories to be told and we encourage all Hamiltonians to seize the opportunity to come along.”

Entry to the exhibition is free, and audio guides with headphones will be provided. Visitors can also access the stories via a QR code on their smartphones.

A public workshop, ‘Wāhine Hamilton – Our Stories’, will be held on the exhibition’s opening day, Saturday 12 November from 10 am – midday. Facilitated by the creators of Wāhine, the workshop offers a morning of storytelling and connection, drawing on the exhibition’s kaupapa and bringing in some knowledge and stories in Te Ao Maaori.

This free-to-attend workshop welcomes all (ages 16+), held at Hamilton Central Library. Bookings are essential at: thewovenwomen.org/workshop.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

 

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