• Nikau Hindin

A journey in understanding Maramataka and traditional celestial navigation practices through the revitalisation of aute, Kōkōrangi ki kōkōwai is a major solo exhibition by artist Nikau Hindin (Ngai Tūpoto, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi).

Kōkōrangi ki kōkōwai showcases Nikau’s knowledge and commitment to contemporary art through indigenous genealogy and revitalisation practices, specifically in aute and documenting the movement of celestial bodies.

Barkcloth, known as siapo in Sāmoa, hiapo in Niue, kapa in Hawai`i, masi in Fiji, ngatu in Tonga and aute in Aotearoa, is prevalent throughout Moana Oceania. Believed to be lost in Aotearoa since the mid-nineteenth century, the aute plant was brought here along with kumara, taro and whau, and was worked into cloth for adornment, manu aute and to wrap taonga. With a cooler climate and changes to available resources in the 1840s, the plant and practice slowly receded from our shores. The lasting remnants of the practice found through the presence of aute in te reo Māori and the intricately worked patu aute, found in swamps throughout Aotearoa, now held by various museums across the country.

Harvesting, stripping, beating and soaking the fibres into a cloth-like material, Nikau inscribes the aute with patterns derived from tukutuku and tāniko, using kōkōwai and ngārahu. Kōkōrangi ki kōkōwai, documents the artist’s journey in understanding Maramataka and traditional celestial navigation practices, tracing and recording the movements of stars and the moon across the sky. The works in this exhibition are as much a documentation of Maramataka as they are a celebration of it, each star a tohu of a new cycle with the moon signalling a new period of environmental change, bringing growth or introspection as well as guiding harvesting and planting patterns.

Nikau’s practice has been exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa as well as internationally, most recently at Hong Kong’s Para Site. Recent exhibitions include: Takiri: an unfurling, New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui A Tongaroa, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (October 2019–June 2020); Koloa: Women, Art and Technology, Para Site, Hong Kong (2019–2020); Release the Stars, Tim Melville Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2020).

Developed and toured by The Dowse Art Museum.

Glossary: Aute: Barkcloth Manu aute: Māori kites Whau: ork Tree Taonga: Treasure or prized-possession Patu aute: Tapa beaters Tohu: Sign or symbol Tukutuku: Ornamental lattice-work Tāniko: finger-weaving Kōkōwai: red ochre pigment Ngārahu: charcoal or black soot pigment Maramataka: Māori Lunar Calendar

Opening Hours

  • Open daily, 9.30am - 4.30pm


  • 208 Bridge Street
  • Whakatū, Nelson