Messini and the megastar

Messini and the megastar

When Sony Music wanted to choose a gift for the musician P!nk ahead of her March 2024 tour in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, the colour pallette was an easy decision! Sony representatives came to The Poi Room and selected a hot pink Wheku Tahi from Messini Palace’s collection.

The selection of wheku tahi

Messini was over the moon that her work would be gifted to P!nk and included a Hei Tiki to gift to the star. Adding to the excitement, the AM Show came to The Poi Room to film and ask about the pieces. Messini spoke about how thrilled she was to receive the call from The Poi Room and told viewers that she included a description of what each piece means and represents within Te Ao Māori so that Pink has an understanding of what she has been gifted.

We were thrilled to be part of the whole experience! 

Messini was a natural in front of the camera. Above, right: A wheku like the one gifted to P!nk.

Messini has extended her collection to include Rehua, Wheku Tahi, Nehe, Mini Wheku and a gorgeous range of resin pieces in a rainbow of colours. There’s something in this collection for everyone.

Messini named Rehua after an Atua (God) of healing. He was found in a terrible state before she stripped and cleaned him back to raw wood so that he was beautiful again and ready for casting.

Many of Messini's vintage pieces don't have carvers' names on them so there is no way of tracing the ringatoi. 


MESSINI: Because I've sourced many of these pieces from overseas, I feel like I’m kind of repatriating them. It’s incredible how much carving is over in Europe or Australia because of the tourist market, I like bringing them home and giving them a new story or journey.

One piece had the name Kiwa Hakaraia on the back and it took me months to track it, but once I did I got permission from the carver's elderly son who said 'go for it!' And I sent him the first finished casting.

The whakapapa of pieces is important to me, so if I can find that information, then that’s part of the story and the whakapapa of my piece as well.

I’m taking something traditional and giving it a contemporary twist. For the most part people really enjoy that.

Mini Wheku, Messini Palace, Hei Tiki Iti

I talk with other Māori artists about the concept of how I create my work, and the conversations I have say we all borrow from each other and learn from each other. We can be playful and we can have new ideas in toi Māori as well.

I collaborated with Master Carver Michael Matchitt on Wheku Tahi and Micheal has also been a great support and mentor.

Making something like a wheku that has come from a traditional carving, putting it into another medium and changing its colour might make it more accessible to people who don’t whakpapa but want to feel connected to te ao Māori.

Thanks for your time Messini, we were overjoyed to be a part of your P!nk experience!

View the collection by Messini Palace