Island tour

Traveling Wāhine art exhibition begins North Island tour in Hastings

Wāhine’s creative director, Loren Pasquier, presents her multimedia traveling exhibition in Hastings. Photo / Provided

Wāhine is a traveling multimedia exhibit that amplifies the voices of Maori women around Aotearoa.

The exhibition allows communities to enrich themselves with their life stories while promoting mutual understanding.

From October 8-30, The Woven Women Wāhine exhibition will be on view at Toitoi Hall, Tama Tūranga Huata in Hastings as part of Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival.

Wāhine is community driven, with free entry for anyone who wants to have a look.

At Heretaunga Hastings, Panache Huata Ropitini of Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Tūhoe joins the kaupapa and exhibition route around the North Island.

Panache said one piece of advice she often offers Wāhine Māori is to spread mātauranga or the knowledge they possess.

“We can’t just withhold part of what we’re told. You know, we have to give our all, everything we share, we have to share everything,” Panache said.

Heretaunga Hastings local Panache Huata Ropitini from Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Tūhoe to join the Wāhine kaupapa and exhibition trip around the North Island.  Photo / Provided
Heretaunga Hastings local Panache Huata Ropitini from Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Tūhoe to join the Wāhine kaupapa and exhibition trip around the North Island. Photo / Provided

Through personalized sound stories and photographic portraits, Wāhine is an immersive exhibition inviting communities to come together, be inspired and learn from the raw, honest and vulnerable stories of Maori women.

The stories tell of their joys and inspirations, their troubles and tribulations, and the resilience that shaped them into the women they are.

The words of each interview are woven with actual recordings captured by the women themselves and displayed alongside a photographic portrait of each wāhine.

As part of the exhibition experience, audio guides with headphones are provided.

Audiences are also encouraged to bring headphones and smartphones to access audio stories via a QR code.

Wāhine’s creative director, Loren Pasquier, hopes that in creating her work, wāhine will inspire empathy for the stories they hear and reflect that same empathy on ourselves.

Wāhine's first exhibition in Nelson drew large crowds now ready to do the same in Hastings.  Photo / Provided
Wāhine’s first exhibition in Nelson drew large crowds now ready to do the same in Hastings. Photo / Provided

“Because I believe it’s through empathy and respect that we can begin to recognize each other,” Pasquier said.

As he travels around Aotearoa, Wāhine expands each time he changes location by inviting a local iwi wāhine to join the kaupapa and reserve space for the other women.

Hawke’s Bay is the first of eight North Island centers to exhibit Wāhine.

Between 2022 and 2023, Wāhine will also be presented in Hamilton, Whangārei, Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Wellington.

Panache’s story will join eight other wāhine who have shared their stories and visited the South Island.

By curating a sacred space where women can share their experiences, the Wāhine exhibit hopes to inspire compassion in everyone and spark a broader sense of belonging, community and unity.

The exhibition will be open from October 8 to 13, Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from October 14 to 30, Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• For more information on Wāhine’s journey, visit: www.thewovenwomen.org

This is a Public Interest Journalism funded role through NZ On Air