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Discussion with Jiří Jírů and Whakaari Rotorua: Václav Havel and Maori

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 20, 2017, 19:00 – 21:00

“From what I have understood of Maori traditions and Maori culture, it shines through that fanaticism of all kinds is alien to them, that they are solely concerned with the acknowledgement of their own cultural identity and nothing more. They do their best not to be mere museum exhibits but to be perceived and respected as part of New Zealand’s past, present and future.” – Václav Havel

Jiří Jírů, who was a Václav Havel´s personal photographer till 2000, developed an international reputation as a photographer for such major publications as Time, Newsweek, Business Week, People, Fortune, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune. Frank Tomas Grapl, a “Maoriavian” with Czech roots, and the Whakaari Rotorua troupe from the Land of the Long White Cloud (NZ) will discuss Václav Havel’s visit to the Maori.

A projection of photographs documenting the visit to a Maori village in Rotorua will be accompanied by an explanation of the context and cultural links, which are little known to Czechs. The Whakaari Rotorua will also perform Maori songs and the traditional haka dance, which has been made world famous as a pre-game ritual of New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team. The most famous haka is entitled Ka mate, or “death will come one day but now I am alive”.

Programme hosted by Kristina Maková.


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