In a first for New Zealand, six Māori and Pacific fashion designers and artists are travelling together as a group to Hong Kong for Fashion Week to showcase their collections and meet with buyers and investors. The group includes some of New Zealand’s best established and emerging Māori and Pacific creative talent including Kiri Nathan, Shona Tawhiao, Lindah Lepou, Nichola Te Kiri, Bobby Luke, and Mitchell Vincent.
The trip has been funded by the North Asia Centre for Asia Pacific Excellence (North Asia CAPE) as part of their work in developing commercial opportunities and export capability for Māori and Pacific enterprise in creative industries. The North Asia CAPE is hosted by the University of Auckland. University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor, Strategic Engagement, Professor Jenny Dixon says she “is pleased that the CAPE is taking leadership in developing export pathways for Māori and Pacific creative talent and understands the importance of diversity of representation to the Aotearoa brand in the export market.”
Filmmaker Benji Timu of No Six will accompany the designers to document the journey. Timu says he is ‘excited to tell the story of local creatives showcasing their talents in a global market’. North Asia CAPE programme delivery partner, Oyster Workshop has been working with the group in the lead up to Hong Kong Fashion week and a team from Oyster will also be travelling to Hong Kong to support all aspects of the programme and ensure market pathway opportunities are secured. Tania Rupupera, Oyster Workshop’s Chief Coach has been working closely with the designers in preparing for their showcase and is excited to see the opportunities that will be created in Hong Kong. Rupapera says that “this project aligns perfectly with the Oyster Workshop kaupapa and that a safe hands approach to growing our creative economy will have a huge benefit to our designers and artist’s sustainability into the future.”
The designers kick off their trip to Hong Kong with the Lumiere Fashion Show on 6 July and have a full schedule of buyer and investor engagements as well as exploring e-commerce platforms, and distribution and supply chain logistics. David Whitwam, Chair of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is providing on the ground support for the group so that they are able to maximise commercial opportunities during their visit.
North Asia CAPE Director, Professor Paul Clark says “Creative industries are where New Zealanders can build high-value products that appeal to the world. We are pleased to add this dimension to the work the North Asia CAPE is doing with expanding Māori and Pasifika opportunities in Asia”
The designers/artists are excited and ready for the opportunity, and can’t wait to get down to business in Hong Kong.
The group departs New Zealand on 4 July.