Tauranga is a city made up of a diverse cultural communities. To celebrate and recognise these communities Rotary Sunrise, in collaboration with The Incubator, created ‘This is Us – he waka eke noa’ using art as a universal language that can help bring people together. 'This is Us - he waka eke noa' was launched in June 2020, during Matariki.
‘This is Us – he waka eke noa’ is more than a creative community art project and exhibition – it is about going on a journey that encourages storytelling, connection and unity. In the spirit of Matariki, a time which traditionally brought communities together to share and to learn from each other, ‘This is Us - he waka eke noa’ offers a platform for our diverse cultural communities to share their stories, values and to learn about each other.
Matariki is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate our history and make plans for the new layers of our future. The whakatauki ‘Ka mua, ka muri’ means that we should look to the past to inform our future and is the essence of what ‘This is Us – he waka eke noa’ is about.
Each of our cultural communities have, at some stage, traveled over water to be part of New Zealand/Aotearoa. The whakatauki ‘He waka eke noa’ summarises where we are today - we are all on this journey together. A waka, symbolic of our unity, was unveiled at The Incubator at Tauranga’s Historic Village on 27 June 2020 where it now resides.
Through the universal language of art, ‘This is Us’ invited members of the public to take part in storytelling and design workshops where they shared stories of how they, or their families came to be living in Tauranga. Each participant decorated a hoe (paddle) to tell a collective story of where we have come from and how we see our future.
An art exhibition, was held at The Incubator Creative Hub from Thursday 27 August to Saturday 26 September, which featured the decorated hoe along with video and still images of the participants sharing their stories.