Boost for culture and community at Te Hana

A new twilight market, a Maori wearable arts show and a winter food festival are among a number of new public events being planned for the Te Hana Te Ao Marama cultural centre this year.

Linda Clapham, who was instrumental in establishing the centre and retains a supervisory managerial role there, says the Te Hana Charitable Trust is planning to boost its community engagement by opening its doors more often.

“We have some really exciting public events happening over the next 12 months. It actually started in December with our first event, Carols by Starlight, then we had our Waitangi Day celebration last month, which went really well,” she says.

A new monthly twilight market started on March 6, with stalls, open mic music and hangi. July 4 will see the return of Dream Weaver, a Maori wearable arts evening with dinner and a catwalk show. There will be three age categories – under 12, 13 to 17, and over 18 – and entries all have to feature Maori cultural content, either through the use of traditional materials or design.

“We’ve had these in the past and they’ve been extremely successful. It’s all about community coming together and celebrating Matariki,” Linda says.

Then, later in July or early August, Te Hana Te Ao Marama will host a gourmet celebration of Kaitiakitanga and Kaipara kai moana (guardianship and seafood) as part of Auckland Council’s Elemental light and food midwinter festival.

The new public events come on top of the cultural centre’s regular tours and visits from school groups, cruise ship passengers, international students and indigenous groups.

“Although we’re involved in some business activities, we’re a social enterprise,” Linda says. “Our main focus is on cultural education, sharing knowledge and breaking down barriers.”

She says the centre aims to get to the stage where it will open regularly for visitors to drop in, rather than having to prebook.