The 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) will feature New Zealand as the Guest of Honour chosen by our sponsor, the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan and organiser, Taipei Book Fair Foundation (TBFF). The New Zealand National Pavilion will incorporate a wealth of Māori elements in its architectural design and will showcase the glorious art and literature of their culture.
Through a series of author meet-ups and performances planned for the event, to be held 11-16 February at the Taipei World Trade Center, New Zealand’s unique culture and history will be introduced to local readers, the organiser said 22 December at a media conference in Taipei City.
“By designating New Zealand the TIBE Guest of Honour, Taiwan has established a bridge to the southern hemisphere,” said Alice WANG, director of the Ministry of Culture’s Department of Humanities and Publications, which oversees the operation of the book fair.
Ties between the two countries have strengthened substantively with the signing of the ANZTEC economic collaboration agreement in 2013, Wang said, adding that the ministry has teamed up with New Zealand to launch a co-authoring project. Both sides have three graphic novelists taking part in the initiative; they will take up residence in each other’s country and display the initial results during the event.
Si’alei van Toor, director of the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei, said that she hopes the book fair next year will strengthen bilateral cultural ties and show the people of Taiwan the rich culture of her home country.
“New Zealand and Taiwan have a lot in common. We’re both island economies with strong links to our indigenous peoples,” she said.
TBFF Chair Doris WANG expressed her gratitude for the presence of Kevin Chapman, director of the New Zealand Guest of Honour project, at the 22 December media event. She said she expects the annual book festival to garner satisfying results by stimulating Taiwan’s international participation, as well as overall cultural, economic, educational and political development.
“Themed ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Books’, the Guest of Honour project underscores the open-minded creativity of New Zealand,” Chapman said, “just like an open book that invites the reader to sample the joy of reading therein.”
World Architecture News Award winner Andrew Patterson, who drew his inspiration from “Tokotoko,” a Māori traditional walking stick, designed the New Zealand theme pavilion.
In Māori tradition, the stick is a symbol of authority and status for the speaker in oral literature. Modelled on three joined Tokotoko sticks, the pavilion represents a space of dialogues on equal footing between the speaker and the reader, between Māori and non-Māori cultures, and between New Zealand and Taiwan.
Moreover, it is a tribute to literature, as the pavilion is constructed mainly out of paper, one of the most essential and important building blocks in literature and publication.
After completion, the pavilion will resemble an archipelago of three 1.8-meter-tall paper islands, surrounding the main exhibition area. The surface of these paper islands will be adorned with laser-cut Māori totems with a modern twist. The enclosed space will house the main Guest of Honour activities, including author meet-ups and Māori dance performances.
A total of 17 New Zealand publishers will participate in the theme pavilion, exhibiting publications on a diverse range of subjects, including architecture, art, culture, fiction, history, science and children’s books. These include several professional educational publishers, who will showcase books dedicated to children’s education, English learning, schooling and upbringing.
In addition, it will feature 22 authors from the country, including 2 illustrators: Gavin Bishop and Sarah Wilkins. Their works will be featured in The New Zealand Children’s Illustration Exhibition at the Children’s Book Pavilion in Hall 3, along with four other NZ illustrators, including Robyn Belton, Donovan Bixley, Andrew Burdan, and Rowan Sommerset.
The 23rd TIBE will present a Kiwi-themed feast, rich not only in literary offerings but also cultural exchange. Members of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, Ngā Kete Tuku Iho, will perform Māori dances twice almost daily during the book fair. For two sessions—one in the morning and one in the afternoon—from 12 Feb to 16 Feb, they will introduce Māori culture through fascinating dance narratives, which incorporate greetings, challenges and battles, as well as the oral storytelling tradition.
Sculpture is an essential part of Māori culture, too. The Guest of Honour pavilion will also feature a master who will carve a wood sculpture on site during the fair.
As Taiwan’s indigenous tribes and Māori share several significant characteristics, the theme pavilion will also join hands with Taiwan’s Council of Indigenous Peoples to shed light on the ocean-spanning, boundary-crossing links.
The New Zealand Guest of Honour Programme is sponsored by Creative New Zealand, Education New Zealand, Publishers Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Copyright Licensing New Zealand, Book Systems International and Te Puni Kōkiri. The programme is with the support of New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office Taipei and has partnership with Council of Indigenous Peoples, Taiwan and New Zealand Book Council.
For more information contact:
Ka Meechan firstname.lastname@example.org