Te Papa is delighted to present Culture Moves! Dance costumes of the Pacific, opening 23 September in the Eyelights Gallery, Te Papa’s exhibition space dedicated to fashion and textiles. The exhibition is a celebration of dance, and dance costumes, across thousands of kilometres of the Pacific Ocean – from Papua New Guinea in the west to Rapanui in the east, and from the tiny island of Banaba to the largest Polynesian city in the world, Auckland.

Eharo (dance mask), early 20th century. Orokolo, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. Purchased 1914. Courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.Dance celebrates history, expresses belief, asserts identity – and dance costumes are a part of the drama and artistry of the dance itself. Dance is represented in Te Papa’s Pacific collection through a rich variety of historical and contemporary dance regalia and dance related items. Culture Moves! explores the beauty of dance costumes and shows how they are worn and used in performance.

The exhibition coincides with the World of WearableArt™Awards in Wellington (23 September- 2 October 2005) and complements the Culture Moves! Dance in Oceania from hiva to hip hop conference, which will be held at Te Papa from 9-12 November 2005. An exciting events and entertainment programme will accompany this exhibition to support these events including performances and expert talks.

The costumes selected for the exhibition illustrate the diverse styles and materials used throughout the Pacific. They include examples that have incorporated new materials and styles, while maintaining traditional ideas. There are the tall fantastical eharo masks from Papua New Guinea, worn for the years-long hevehe ceremonies, and the bold geometric designs of a contemporary skirt from Tuvalu. Fibres customarily used in costume-making combine with new man-made materials – a male dancer from Kiribati wears a nuota or dance belt braided of human hair and a necklace of bright synthetic flowers.

Photographs and audiovisuals of authentic dance performances will give visitors an opportunity to see some of the costumes in action, and enhance their appreciation of these unique expressions of Pacific culture.

Culture Moves also features costumes made for some of the thousands of students who competed in the Polyfest, the Mäori and Pacific Island secondary schools’ cultural festival held in 2005. This colourful three-day event is the largest Pacific dance festival in the world, and is held in Auckland each year. Families, friends, and the students themselves become the costume designers and makers.

Culture Moves! Dance costumes of the Pacific
23 September 2005 – 1 August 2006
Eyelights Gallery, Level 4, Te Papa
Free Entry

Dance costumes of the Pacific performance
Saturday 24 September 2005, 2.00pm-3.00pm.
The Marae, Level 4. Free entry.
Experience the cultures of Polynesia with artist and educator Tuaine Robati from Whitireia Polytechnic as he showcases twenty years of costumes in a fashion show performance

Culture Moves! Dance costumes of the Pacific floortalk
Sunday 25 September 2005, 11.00am-11.30am & 2.00pm-2.30pm
Eyelights Gallery, Level 4. Free entry. Meet at the entrance of Eyelights Gallery.
Join Kolokesa Mahina, Te Papa’s Curator Pacific Cultures, to discover more about Pacific dance costumes as you walk through this stunning exhibition.

World of WearableArt™- Judges Forum
Saturday 24 September 2005, 11.00am-12.30pm.
The Marae, Level 4. Free entry.
Discover what the judges look for in a winning design and what 2005 holds for WOW®. Features Oscar-winning costume designer Ngila Dickson.

Simon Hames’ Excessive Accessories Creature
Sunday 25 September 2005, 12noon-12.30pm & 1pm-1.30pm.
Te Papa Plaza – Outside. Free entry. (Wet weather venue, Wellington Foyer, Level 2)
See this huge creature made out of umbrellas in a kinetic display. Commissioned by Wellington City Council.

World of WearableArt™- Designer Talk: Simon Hames
Sunday 25 September 2005, 2.00pm-3.00pm.
The Marae, Level 4. Free entry.
A WOW® award-winner who’s worked on movies including King Kong and The Lord of the Rings, Simon Hames will discuss his work and WOW®.

WOW® Wander
Wednesday 28 September 2005, 12noon-12.30pm & 12.50pm-1.20pm.
Throughout Te Papa. Free entry.
Come and see amazing artworks from the marvellous World of WearableArt™. Models will wander throughout the Museum.

World of WearableArt™- Designer Talk: Andrea Clinton
Saturday 1 October 2005, 1.30-2.30pm.
Soundings Theatre, Level 2. Free entry.
Hear this accomplished speaker and awarding-winning designer talk about creating wearable art. You might learn some winning secrets!

For more details phone (04) 381 7000 or visit www.tepapa.govt.nz.
Te Papa is open every day of the year, 10am-6pm, and until 9pm on Thursdays.