Charles Ropitini is set to provide an exhibition experience like no other at MTG Hawke’s Bay next month.

Charles curated the exhibition He Manu Tīoriori – Songbirds for MTG and will host the floor “talk”, part of the Winter Art Deco Weekend, on Saturday 15 July.

A professionally trained baritone, Charles plans to sing people around the exhibition, which highlights prominent composers and musicians of Ngāti Kahungunu over the century 1917-2017. He will also touch upon life as it was in the villages of Ngati Kahungunu in the earlier half of the 20th century.

He Manu Tīoriori – Songbirds tracks the evolution from the action songs and poi developed during World War One through to Te Matatini, hosted in Hastings in February.

“Winter Deco is the perfect time to be talking about Maori jazz, and the songs of Walter Smith in particular will be a delight for people to hear as many of them have not been performed for over 50 years. The best way to bring this exhibition to life is to sing our visitors around the gallery. While many people know of the waiata, the composers, context and stories are less known,” says Charles.

The exhibition gives an incredible insight into the social history of Ngāti Kahungunu through music, shining the light on musicians such as Paraire Tōmoana, Walter Smith, Ruru Karaitiana, Johnny ‘The Māori Cowboy’ Cooper and Tama Huata.

Both Paraire Tōmoana and Walter Smith went on a national tour in 1917 supporting Sir Apirana Ngata to raise funds for the purchase of farms to support returned Māori soldiers.  “He Manu Tīoriori – Songbirds explores the legacy of these men which endures today,” says Charles.

The exhibition has proven to be popular with people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the stories. It is hoped that He Manu Tīoriori– Songbirds will inspire young musicians and composers and continue what has now become a tradition of pioneering cultural developments by Ngāti Kahungunu through the performing arts.

  • The Winter Deco Floor Talk is between 11am and noon on Saturday 15 July. Cost includes all day admission to MTG Hawke’s Bay. Adults $10, concessions $7.50, children under 15 free. No booking required.

Media contact:
Charles Ropitini 06 835 7781 charles.ropitini@mtghawkesbay.com

30 June 2017

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