PROJECT PAINT THE PACIFIC
In 2016 we had the privilege of representing Aotearoa as members of the Creative NZ delegation to attend the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guåhån (Guam). During our time there we saw first hand the beauty & uniqueness of each of the islands and nations of the Pacific and it was there that an idea evolved.
Titled 'Project Paint the Pacific', we began to understand that we could use our ability to paint murals to support efforts on the ground in the nations of the Pacific to bring awareness to critically endangered birdlife. Our connection as Māori artists to our environment naturally expanded our understanding that our pacific brothers & sisters also had a story to tell.
Working alongside local elders & leaders, tribal groups, community & conservation organisations, local governments & whoever opened their door really we began with a mural in Rarotonga. Not approaching this ignorantly each opportunity presented itself to us through natural whakawhanaungatanga & kotahitanga. Over time the islands of Papeete, Moorea, Ra'iātea, Bora Bora, Tonga & Samoa were painted. Our connection to community leaders & friends in the nation of Samoa brought our two nations together. Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern & the now Prime Minister of Samoa Fiame Naomi Mata'afa unveiled the mural in collaboration with the 'Save the Manumea' campaign. Located on the side of the New Zealand High Commission in Apia the project encapsulated our vision & purpose of using art successfully to not only tell a story but to champion the needs of endangered bird life.
We have seen first hand the impact and power of creativity & in smaller nations how large scale murals create instant impact. Projects have gone beyond conservation efforts and have also included educational workshops and in one case educating the secondary art teachers of Samoa to paint murals on scale. This has resulted in murals being painted around the nation by locals who live there allowing us to remove ourselves out of the picture (which we are so happy to do).
We believe that art can change the world in a positive way. We are not by means cultural experts of other nations but humbly accept invitations to support & to help the efforts of locals all around the world. We hope to be connecting more as the world opens up again.