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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

Native Department

Native Department

Maori activities at the Exhibition centre around a carved meeting-house measuring 77ft. by 34ft. The building is designed on traditional lines by an expert in Maori architecture, and is illustrative of the highest form of Maori art and mural decorations. The carvings have been executed by the leading craftsmen of the present day. Each figure depicted in the carving represents a celebrated hero in Maori tradition. The interior walls are adorned with carved panels interspersed with decorative designs composed of reeds and coloured native grasses harmoniously combined to produce that artistic effect which is so characteristic of the Maori.

Stalls are provided adjacent to the meeting house where Maori people representing various tribes display and sell Maori works of art and where the public have an opportunity of viewing and purchasing exhibits of carving and weaving.

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These crafts are in progress in the building during the period of the Exhibi-. tion, and visitors are thus afforded a unique opportunity of seeing the Maori at work on his traditional arts.

A feature of Maori representation is a series of entertainments presenting his ancient and modern choral music and dancing, including the ever-popular poi dance and stirring ngeri (dancing) and ha.ka (war dance), the prelude to war in olden days. The public have the opportunity of hearing the most outstanding vocalists of to-day and items are rendered by various Maori choirs from different parts of the Dominion. In addition to these items there are demonstrations of the ancient games and pastimes of the people and the ceremonial appertaining to the welcoming and farewelling of guests.

All performers wear the picturesque Maori costume.

At the Maori Court of the Centennial Exhibition the visitor obtains an insight into the culture, custom and language of the race who occupied these shores before the advent of the European, and in addition are assured of much enjoyable entertainment.