Slice of Kiwi culture hits LA with new exhibition

Rachel Hunter is among a host of US-based Kiwi stars flocking to see a slice of Māori culture on display in Los Angeles.

The Tuku Iho exhibition showcases 70 works of art and live performances including kapa haka, and it opened this week.

It was a new experience for tourists at the famous Santa Monica pier, and a familiar sight for some famous Kiwi expats.

"When you come here as a New Zealander and you've lived here for 30 years... to see a bit of home is pretty special," Hunter said.

Actress Siobhan Marshall was another Kiwi in the big city who went to check out the exhibition.

"New Zealand has an amazing Māori culture it needs to share it with the world," she said.

The performances, part of Tuku Iho, have been traveling the world and have now opened in Venice Beach.

It's showcasing artwork handcrafted by students and teachers at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Te Puia, Rotorua.

"Our mandate is to use the commercial part of our business to reinvest in cultural capital, and this is the outcome of that," Te Puia NZMACI chairman Harry Burkhardt said.

The Māori culture is being shared not just with tourists, but with local indigenous groups.

"We're starting to hear their stories, to share our stories and we start to see the similarities," Burkhardt said.

The exhibition features carving, live tā moko, kapa haka and for the first time, pounamu carving.

It attracted 250,000 people when it visited Washington and a similar number are expected to see it in Venice Beach.