OPOTIKI Mayor Lyn Riesterer forms connections with Roka Cameron, left, and Michelle Lee among the exhibits.

THE exhibition of rauangi and raranga from the level 4 students of Te Wananga o Aotearoa has been a huge success.

With whanau, friends and the wider community gathered, Roger Rakuraku, manager of the Opotiki site, opened the exhibition with a karakia and gave thanks to the talented kaiako, kaiawhina, tauira for their hard work, and to their families for their support throughout the year.

Opotiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer shared her thoughts about the quality of the work being exhibited and her acknowledgement of how the arts were able to connect cultures.

Roka Cameron, kaiako raranga, brought a bit of humour to the proceedings asserting, as she tied on her Cameron tartan kakahu that she had woven for her Masters’, that “the Cameron clan couldn’t be outdone by the McLeod clan” as she stood in front of the McLeod tartan-inspired kete.

Kim Marsh, national co-ordinator of the visual arts programmes at the wananga, took the opportunity to speak, proclaiming that the work was of a standard to match anything produced at the larger campuses.

All visitors, whether it was the school groups from Opotiki and Whakatane or someone’s grandma or grandpa, were equally thrilled by what they saw.

The exploration of a diverse collection of materials and techniques, coupled with the artists’ communication of their connections with their loved ones, their environment or with issues that busied their minds was very clear to see.

Michelle Lee, kaiako rauangi, on behalf of the tauira and the wananga thanked the community for supporting the kaupapa. She is looking forward to next year when she hopes to be able to put on a longer show.