A night of art of art, music, kai and magic was experienced by people of all ages on Saturday 27 November at the opening event of Te Ara Patupaiarehe at Manutahi Hill, Ruatorea.

The forest fairy trail is the culmination of a project led by Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou, with support from Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti, Ngāti Porou Whanui Forests, Hoea! Gallery and Project Space and Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival.

Families, children and kaumatua were treated to illuminated art works centered on the Ngāti Porou folklore of Manutahi patupaiarehe (forest fairies), who are guardians and kaitiaki of the forest and environment.

Works were developed by artists from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou, along with artworks by Tairāwhiti artists that featured in Te Ara i Whiti at Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in October.

Around 500 participants attended three session times, walking or travelling by buggy, along the 600m track, enjoying the brilliant sculpture and kōrero (stories) sprinkled amongst the dense natural bush.

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti, Community Connector, Rawinia Parata says “Te Ara Patupaiarehe was an extraordinary feat of collaboration highlighting culture, reo, art, technology, and community.

“As a community we are grateful to have received so much support and have been able to experience an event of this magnitude in our own backyard.

“To be able to celebrate the teachings of Nanny Kuini Moehau in a way that truly honors her and have our own tamariki explore their creativity through those teachings has been both meaningful and significant.”

Festival Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Tama Waipara says Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival is built on a solid kaupapa “it is of the place and its people and celebrates the creative abundance of our region.”

“Supporting Te Ara Patupaiarehe, our aim has been to elevate our stories and the artists, share experiences and kōrero with the community – and making sure we provide a safe environment that is focused on whānau.”

People attending the event were treated to entertainment by local musicians Delia Harrison, Chad Chambers and DJ Bub Dewes, and was supported by Ngāti Porou Hauora also offering information and vaccinations.

The project team received positive sentiments from participants including one who said “seeing everyone moving up and down the hill, whānau, kids, pakeke, wowing at the art displays and lights, was incredibly uplifting. And our community so needed uplifting from the seriousness of COVID-19.”

Originally planned for 2 October but delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, Te Ara Patupaiarehe was presented as part of the 2021 Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival programme.

With plans to create a permanent installation and walking trail, find out more about Te Ara Patupaiarehe and the artists at