Māori and Pacific culture to be displayed in China

Māori and Pacific culture to be displayed in China

We're pretty unique in our little corner of the world and now, a snapshot of Māori and Pacific culture is heading to a huge exhibition in China.

Eighty images from 12 photographers will be showcased at the International Photography Festival in Pingyao.

Called Ata Te Tangata, meaning Capture The People, the images will capture the eyes and minds of those all the way in China.

"China specifically asked for Māori and Pacific representation so we're really proud to be taking 12 photographers over to represent New Zealand in China," curator Rosanna Raymond says.

It's the largest collection of its kind to ever travel overseas and it's going to one of the world's biggest and most prestigious exhibitions.

Linda Tanoai is one of the photographers - her story centres around her mother and highlights dementia.

"And how our communities are dealing with that issue, and yeah it's a beginning and sort of one layer of several that I'm trying to slowly put into public space," she says.

Raymond Sagapolutele's work 'Out of Context' pays homage to Polynesians born to migrant Pacific Islanders.

"I approached each person that was going to take part and I asked them to bring along six changes of clothes, the idea that I would document them as they are now," he says.

The theme of Sagapolutele's work is disconnection from culture

"A lot of the Chinese audience wouldn't have maybe encountered an urban Māori and Pacific Island experience," Ms Raymond says.

"So people are getting to tell their stories through their eyes."

For Sagapolutele, having his work on display in such esteemed company is exciting enough in itself.

"It's quite humbling actually - the photographers and artists that are sending work over that I'm part of, a lot of them are people that I look up to, a lot of them are people that I've followed for a long time."

The images have been digitally sent to China where they're currently being printed, before the exhibition starts next month.

"It is urban, a lot of these photographers they are behind the lens, and for many years Pacific Island and Māori have been on the other side of the lens," Ms Raymond says.

It's hoped New Zealanders can have the chance to see the exhibition as well, as Ms Raymond wants to hold an exhibition in Auckland soon.

'Ata Te Tangata' is an initiative of the Auckland Festival of Photography, New Zealand in partnership with Pingyao International Photography Festival, China.