It is truly a great honour for the Spirit Wrestler Gallery to host this extraordinary exhibition, “Kiwa — Pacific Connections, Maori Art from Aotearoa.”
New Zealand, named by the Maori as Aotearoa meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”, is located 12,000 kilometers southwest of Vancouver, Canada. The two countries are separated and linked by the vast Pacific Ocean called by the Maori “Te Moana nui a Kiwa.”
Vancouver, a major centre for Pacific Rim trade, is a nautical doorway into North America. The Pacific Northwest region is very rich in its own native cultures and upon closer inspection it is evident just how strong the Pacific connection is between the Maori and the Northwest Coast peoples. Both have a heritage as warrior peoples, lived in longhouses (whare tupuna), sailed the Pacific waters in canoes (waka) and shared similar protocols, traditions and ceremonies. This exhibition is a natural extension of North welcoming South in a shared celebration of their arts and cultures.