A Māori cultural exhibition that has just opened in Rio de Janeiro is generating huge interest, the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute says.
Brazil is the fifth country to host the Tuku Iho Exhibition, which the institute has previously staged in China, Malaysia, Chile and Argentina.
The exhibition features a collection of wood, pounamu, bone, stone and flax artworks, and is supported by cultural performances at venues including below iconic statue Christ the Redeemer, at the Copacabana Fort and at a football match at the Macarena Stadium.
Institute director Karl Johnstone said the exhibition had been full since it opened last week
"It's huge - there's a lot of prior knowledge here of New Zealand and of things Māori. The haka and moko tattoo is hugely known here; there's a lot of passion around it."
Mr Johnstone said many people in Rio already had Māori- and Pasifika-inspired tattoos and, as part of the exhibition, three tā moko artists were demonstrating and giving moko to Brazilians.
He said, while the exhibition's focus was on cultural exchange, significant media interest in South America should bring benefits for trade and tourism as well as the arts community.
"We do have economic realities and so alongside the activity certainly building brand New Zealand, brand Māori, and actually trade brands, that is part of the conversation."
The exhibition has the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Trade and Enterprise, Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, and a number of New Zealand companies active in Brazil including Zespri, Framecad, Moa Beer and Yealands.
Engaging with indigenous cultures around the world is another aim of the exhibition, and Mr Johnstone said there were plans to meet with one of Brazil's indigenous Amazon tribes this week.