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.
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: