A kauapa Māori mentoring project running on Waiheke Island over the last two years has seen 20 rangatahi Māori and non-Māori students paired up with established Māori artists to develop their skills, confidence and cultural identity.
The project has been supported by Waiheke Local Board which recently approved funding for the third year of the project, called E Tipu E Rea.
E Tipu E Rea will reach a milestone at Matariki where the rangatahi will exhibit alongside their mentors in the annual Matariki exhibition at Waiheke Community Art Gallery: Te Whare Taonga.
Artists Anton Forde, Jeanine Clarkin and George Kahi lead the project in collaboration with Waiheke Community Art Gallery: Te Whare Taonga and Waiheke High School.
Fashion designer Jeanine Clarkin, who’s well-known for her high-end blanket garments, says the project’s kaupapa is ‘Mā te tuakana te teina e tōtika, Mā te teina te tuakana e tōtika’ or ‘The older will lead the younger and the younger will lead the older.’
“In the weeks leading up to Matariki, our artist mentors will be supporting the rangitahi to develop their own unique artworks for the exhibition.”
During the course of the mentorship, rangitahi often inspire mentors with their fresh ideas and new take on artistic expression, making the project mutually beneficial she says.
Waiheke Local Board chair Cath Handley says the local board is pleased to support youth-centred and Māori-led initiatives like E Tipu E Rea.
“The project is perfectly tailored to develop skills and cultural identity in rangatahi, leading the way to improved education and career opportunities. Some of these young people will become tomorrow’s art community.”