Contemporary Māori culture fashion show – Tiki Ahua

Contemporary Māori culture will come to life through Tiki Āhua on September 24 – an annual fashion, design, music and dance extravaganza through the hallowed mist and steam of Te Whakarewarewa Valley, at Rotorua’s Te Puia.

Tiki Āhua – Kā Mura: Set Alight, the theme for 2016 was launched at Te Puia on September 15, where the designer and entertainment line-up was revealed, as well as the five-year vision for the event to grow from a one-night spectacle, to a week long festival.

Te Puia general manager sales and marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean says 22 designers feature in this year’s event showcasing streetwear, jewellery and adornment including tā moko (Māori tattoo), daywear, streetwear, eveningwear and avant-garde.

Designs from fashion identities such as Kharl WiRepa, Adrienne Whitewood, Natura Aura and Henare Jewellery will feature on the runway, alongside other inspiring brands with captivating stories.

“An exciting part of this event is not only the incredible contemporary fashion, but also pulling through traditional Maori arts such as tā moko pounamu and bone carving, which are then thrust into a pretty glitzy high fashion environment. It’s been beautiful to see everything come together and our NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute artists are loving that journey,” she explains.

Tiki Āhua artistic director, Turanga Merito, well known for his role as Simba in the international Lion King stage show, has assisted the designers in showcasing their visions and pulling together the entertainment including Che Fu, Seth Haapu, Whenua Patuwai and dance crew Street Candee. He describes the journey as pleasantly overwhelming.

“The designers have put blood, sweat, and tears into their designs,” he says.

“I am excited as the artistic director to be able to bring a night of fire, love, and magic to my hometown, Rotorua.

“This event is more than a fashion show – it is the coming together of our indigenous culture and the stories of exceptionally gifted designers, fused with the buzz and high fashion spectacle of a New York or Paris runway.”

Destination Rotorua general manager Oscar Nathan saysTiki Āhua is a perfect platform to showcase the very strong and emerging contemporary aspects of Rotorua’s Maori cultural scene and is a great celebration of the innovation and talent that is inherent here in the region.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says she’s excited by the concept and the potential for the event to help build the Rotorua brand, aligning with the district’s status as the home of Māori culture, arts and innovation.

“We have a vibrant local fashion and design community and this provides a professional contemporary Maori culture platform to promote growth in the local industry.”

The concept behind Tiki Āhua – Kā Mura: Set Alight

The ancient concepts found within the words ‘Tiki’ and ‘Āhua’ sit at the heart of this kaupapa (initiative) and are driven by an aspirational desire to be more, do more and become more reflective of the creative process.

The theme, Kā Mura | Set Alight, is inspired by the history of the subterranean goddesses of fire, Te Pūpū and Te Hoata, who created the geothermal imprint from the east coast of the North Island to the mountains of the Central Plateau.

Kā describes the act of setting alight, while mura is a flame. Together, they describe the fostering of life and creation, bringing something into existence.

Tiki Āhua also draws inspiration from
Te Arawa’s unique history and environment 
and is intrinsically rooted in values and traditions around manaakitanga (hospitality), kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and whanaungatanga (kinship).

The designers

The backdrop of Te Whakarewarewa Valley will provide a stunning backdrop to the catwalk showcasing contemporary Maori streetwear, adornment, daywear, eveningwear and avant-garde, as collections from 22 designers grace the stage at Tiki Āhua.

Henare Jewellery designer Nerida Johnstone says Tiki Ahua enables aspiring, emerging and established designers to showcase their talents.

“A cross section of creatives, serious about fashion as a career choice get to connect with their fashion idols, industry experts and relevant support networks in a supportive, real-life experience, whilst gaining commercial and promotional opportunities, not easily obtained otherwise in this industry.”

Designer line up


  • MVS
  • Mitchell Vincent
  • Rise Supply Co – Ranui Samuels


  • Henare (with Masami) Jewellery by Nerida Johnstone
  • Marama Jewellery (Courtney Jamieson)
  • Rangi Kipa
  • Arekatara Maihi (Katz)
  • Stacy Gordine
  • Jacob Tautari


  • Jeanine Clarkin
  • Ahu – Adrienne Whitewood
  • Natura Aura – Leilani & Anastacia Rickard


  • Kiri Nathan
  • Kharl Wirepa Couture
  • Jopanni Bridal


  • Dmonic Intent
  • Mereana Ngatai Fashion and Textiles

Weaving Showcase

  • Tribute to our fashion design origins – Weavers of the Valley


The runway will be transformed as designers and entertainment including Whenua Patuwai, Street Candee, Seth Haapu and one of the country’s most successful recording artists, Che Fu, take the stage throughout the night.

Tiki Āhua master of ceremonies, Matai Smith, says he is absolutely elated to be part of such an innovative event.

“To be able to provide up-and-coming designers a platform such as this to showcase both their threads and unique talents is really exciting and I can’t wait to see what the designers have to offer; I am picking it will be nothing short of impressive.”

Entertainment lineup:

  • Artistic Director: Turanga Merito
  • MC Matai Smith
  • Dance segment by Street Candee
  • Performance by Whenua Patuwai
  • Performance by Che Fu


Te Whakaruruhau, Te Puia, Rotorua, Saturday 24 September 6PM – midnight


General Admission: Adult $35.00 l Child: $25.00 (Up to 17, with School I.D.)

Gold Seating: $65.00 (includes premium seating and a goodie bag)

VIP Ticket: $120 (includes premium seating, pre-event cocktail party and premium goodie bag)

All ticket purchases to be made online at iTicket or by phone 0508 iTICKET (484 253). Booking fees may apply.


Te PuiaDeloitteWaiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic,Rotorua Lakes Council and Poutama.