News Culture Comment Video


Finding inspiration in te ao Māori (The Māori world)

Monday 7th July 2014

On June 28, the Matariki star cluster rose over Aotearoa, heralding the start of the Māori New Year.

Radio New Zealand’s Music 101 brought together two artists making work for this year’s celebrations for a korero about how te ao Māori has shaped their work.

Johnson Witehira, left, and Dudley Benson  tell their personal te ao Māori stories.

Photo: Melody Thomas

Visual artist Johnson Witehira, of Tamahaki (Ngāti Hinekura), Ngā Puhi (Ngai-tū-te-auru), Ngāti Haua and Pākehā descent is presenting a collaborative artwork as part of Toi Te Reo at Wellington’s City Gallery.

Dudley Benson, a Otautahi (Christchurch)-born Pākehā composer, headlined a show at the gallery last week.

Both work hard to ensure their work has cultural integrity.

“There's no guidelines, there's no book telling you. You just have to look at what people are doing at the moment maybe,” Witehira says.

Benson says: “I really had to prepare very heavily and carefully in order to feel satisfied that I was doing justice to the work and not come off like a honky white guy doing a bad project”.

LISTEN to Benson and Witehira in conversation:


Join the discussion »

Login to post a comment

Login or Signup


In accordance with our Comments Policy, all comments are moderated before they appear on the site. This happens 7am to 7pm each weekday.

Melody Thomas is the creator of new RNZ sex and sexuality podcast BANG!, sometime-presenter for Music 101, and a writer for various print and online media.
Join the discussion

Discuss, comment and read comments about this article.