A delegation from New Zealand is taking part in a “community day” at the Fiji Museum in Suva, where Maori and Fijian artists are engaging in a cultural exchange program.
This program involves New Zealand print and ceramic makers partnering with Fijian Masi makers and potters to learn each other’s skills and cultural practices while also exploring the differences and similarities between their traditions.
Acting Director of the Fiji Museum, Dr. Katrina Igglesden, emphasizes the Maori community’s commitment to revitalizing and preserving the cultural heritage.
“We need to keep moving into the future. We do have that here in Fiji, but we’re a few decades behind. So having the support and the willingness to share how they’ve managed to do that will only make our arts and culture sector and our heritage better preserved and safeguarded here in Fiji.”
She also states that the participants are actively involved in various cultural and village-based activities.
“So yesterday they went to Rewa and they had a clay harvesting afternoon, which was really, really exciting. And on Monday afternoon, I believe it is, they’re going to the Arts Council to look at the vast and rich collections of heritage art forms that they care for there.”
Delegation Representative Joe Harawira notes that participants are recognizing the diverse talents and skills they possess and their significance in this exchange.
“So our journey here to work with our Fijian relations is about seeing the form and working with clay and print to get an understanding of their view and their knowledge so that we are better prepared in terms of how it relates to our knowledge and wisdom.”
This is the first-of-its-kind engagement by the Fiji Museum, and they anticipate organizing more cultural exchange programs with other countries in the near future.