Exhibition affords stark interpretation of colonisation

Acting gallery director Antony Rhodes and Wharehoka Wano alongside Maungārongo ki te Whenua Maungārongo ki te Tangata.


A brand new exhibition in New Plymouth appears on the influence of colonisation on Māori.

Acting gallery director Antony Rhodes and Wharehoka Wano alongside Maungārongo ki te Whenua Maungārongo ki te Tangata.

Appearing gallery director Antony Rhodes and Wharehoka Wano alongside Maungārongo ki te Whenua Maungārongo ki te Tangata.
Photograph: RNZ / Robin Martin

Step into Brett Graham’s Tai Moana Tai Tangata exhibition and you might be instantly confronted by a darkish and ominous soundtrack that implies it might be a difficult expertise.

Subtitled – ‘A cautionary story about human endeavour in Aotearoa New Zealand’ – it attracts parallels between the land wars, confiscation and environmental and financial issues of the current day.

Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) accomplished an artist in residence on the Govett-Brewster gallery in 2019 the place he researched ties between Waikato-Tainui and Taranaki, and the results of the raupatu, or land confiscations, on each.

A 10-metre excessive niu, or pole, a logo of Pai Mārire or Hauhau motion – which originated in Taranaki – is the primary of 5 monumental sculptures you encounter.

Initially peaceable in nature, Hauhau grew to become related to direct motion towards colonialists.

The Waiuku-based artist mentioned the piece – Stop Tide of Fallacious-Doing – which references Parihaka was central to the exhibition.

Wharehoka Wano with Cease Tide of Wrong-Doing.

Wharehoka Wano with Stop Tide of Fallacious-Doing.
Photograph: RNZ / Robin Martin

“These have not been seen in components of the nation for over 150 years and for our individuals to come back again after which energise that pou and return our model of the Pai Mārire karakia that we nonetheless practise on each gathering and try this right here in Taranaki was extremely transferring.”

Juxtaposed to the niu is one among three video installations, this one that includes Te Namu.

A still from Brett Graham's video installation Te Namu.

A nonetheless from Brett Graham’s video set up Te Namu.
Photograph: RNZ / Robin Martin

It was at this Opunake seaside that Hauhau prophet Te Ua Haumēne had a imaginative and prescient, during which the Archangel Gabriel knowledgeable him God had chosen him to solid out the Pākehā and restore the land to Māori.

However right here the seaside is roofed in oil rigs and gasoline flares whereas the ocean is a sickly black.

Graham mentioned no exhibition may solely look backwards.

“It has to narrate to the current in addition to the previous and that is the place the movies blatantly present the message that due to the huge confiscation of land and due to the angle that these settlers introduced with them that form of led to rampant capitalism and the exhaustion of sources.”

On the primary touchdown, the sculpture Pioneer is a stylised model of the turret of the eponymous gunboat which cruised the Waikato River throughout the New Zealand wars.

The carpet on the steps main as much as the marriage cake-like construction is inlaid with the hatchments or colors of the militia and common military models that took half within the Taranaki wars.

That resonated with Wharehoka Wano who heads up Whiringa Toi – the gallery’s advisors in Te Ao Māori.

“Nicely you realize that is takahi, is not it? Like once we say takahi we discuss trample. You realize it is once we tramp a home, we stroll a home. We put our presence upon that place and there is additionally one other half the place we’re additionally exhibiting a little bit of disregard so right here we get to repay the praise.”

Wano mentioned the exhibition is vital for Māori and Pākehā alike.

“I am constructive that there is a want to know the reality and to know extra trigger you realize you have nonetheless received that nearly racial undertone on us tribally that is primarily based on ignorance as a result of they do not know.

“The angle is let’s neglect about that historical past we have to maneuver on and all of us need to transfer on too nevertheless it must be primarily based on understanding.”

Appearing Govett-Brewster director Antony Rhodes was equally adamant the exhibition was a must-see.

“What occurred right here was distinctive in some ways and it was additionally nationally and internationally vital. The connection between Parihaka and Gandhi, the information of peace and passivism radiating out to the world from Parihaka.

“It’s vital we’re capable of inform these tales. It’s vital we’re capable of share the a number of viewpoints of historical past.”

Tai Moana Tai Tangata continues via to Could.



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