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Vanuatu Craft Showcase opens in Auckland Museum

The Auckland Museum's gift shop has been transformed into a Vanuatu craft market this month.

Traditional woven baskets, fans, wood carvings, jewellery and more are on offer. 

Auckland Museum Retail Manager Vicky Thomas says it's an honour to be able to offer a range of quality products that represent Pacific cultural and material practice and knowledge.

“It is a privilege to collaborate with such skilled, knowledgeable and passionate artists and to be the first retailer to connect these makers with an international market.” 

PMN News reports the makers are from remote rural communities in Vanuatu and are members of “handicraft hubs” – the Malampa Handicraft Centre, Torba Handicraft Cooperative, and Ambae Craft Associations. 

Through these hubs they operate an integrated, community-led approach to sell their products across Vanuatu and now, for the first time, internationally in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Participating ni-Vanuatu master weavers Christina Sirig (Vetimboso), Jonaston Manar (Vetimboso), and Patricia Mataru (Malekula) are in Auckland as part of the private opening celebrations. All of the items for sale are handmade using local tools and traditional crafting methods passed down through generations. 

“We are so thrilled to work in partnership with the Auckland Museum,” says Vanuatu Skills Partnership Director, Fremden Yanhambath. 

”This is a trail-blazing initiative that is enabling our local talent and skills to be promoted outside of Vanuatu in a way that truly respects the value of local heritage and tradition.”

Visit the Vanuatu Arts and Crafts market at the Auckland Museum exhibition store from Tuesday 9 May to Sunday 21 May. 

Photo credit Vanuatu Skills Partnership