Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Artist connects with grandfather’s burial place


Artist connects with grandfather’s burial place

A Kati Huirapa community project at Puketeraki Marae, in the Otago town of Karitane, has provided an opportunity for a Wellington artist to reconnect with his Ngäi Tahu whänau.

Associate Professor Ross Hemera, from the College of Creative Arts, says his mother told him some time ago that according to oral history his paternal grandfather was buried near the marae, where he is to install a new carved waharoa (gateway) this weekend.

Artist connects with grandfather’s burial place

The waharoa project is to be dedicated on Sunday after a two-year collaboration, between the marae community, and two Ngäi Tahu artists, Ross Hemera in Wellington and James York in Dunedin.

Mr Hemera says his personal connection to the area made it feel like he was following in the footsteps of his ancestors. He says the connection was as strong as the one he feels between himself and the rock drawings left by his forefathers that are a distinctive feature in his work.

“It has been rewarding on so many levels connecting with the Huirapa whänau, least of which is the opportunity to collaborate with other Ngäi Tahu artists,” Mr Hemera says.

“For me working with Mäori communities, especially my own iwi, validates what I do as an artist.” On the waharoa project, he has collaborated with carver James York. While Mr Hemera has been sculpting the totara and aluminium posts (amo) of the gateway from his Wellington studio, Mr York has been working on the (maihi) barge boards from his studio in Dunedin and the two compare notes and collaborate most often by phone, email and occasionally in person.

“Working with other artists, and the community, is an essential part of Mäori creative practice," Mr Hemera says. "As Mäori and as Ngäi Tahu I enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the collective aspirations of the community. When working with our art forms the concept of taonga tuku iho is the pervading kaupapa – the knowledge that comes from the atua [gods), and ancestors – this is treasured, added to and developed and then passed on to others. These concepts also underpin my teaching practice.

“As with the rock drawings, with this project I felt that my forefathers were telling me how to make forms, so essentially whänau, or the concept of taonga tuku iho, is at the heart of all my work.”

The waharoa conforms to a traditional amo and maihi convention, with two side posts and gabled bargeboards. "It is made from totara the customary timber for such structures. The carved elements and surface patterns are reduced to a bare minimum. However, some contemporary elements have been introduced through the use of aluminium components. At it’s widest the gateway spans about 6m and is about 3m high at the apex.”

Mr Hemera has worked at Massey for 14 years in a variety of teaching and researching roles. “Part of my work as an academic at Massey involves creative practice in the visual arts. Another expectation is connecting and working with communities. I feel fortunate that I have been able to undertake both of these aspects within the context of my whänau and iwi.”

Puketeraki Marae manager Suzanne Ellison says the collaboration presented challenges that required negotiation. “The challenge for the hapü was to find the whakaaro (concept) behind the waharoa and the challenge for the artists was to bring this out in the work… the artists can’t do their own thing, they have to work with the community and can take it only as far as people want it to go.”

“The gateway is based on the whakatauki [proverb], ‘Ki uta, ki tai’ – from the mountains to the coast, and reflects the stories about the local area and whänau.”

Mr Hemera and Mr York are also part of an exhibition of the works of six Ngäi Tahu artists that opens at Gallery Thirty Three in Wanaka today and runs until 15 August.

*****


A Kati Huirapa community project at Puketeraki Marae, in the South Island town of Karitane, has provided an opportunity for an artist to reconnect with his Ngäi Tahu whänau.

Associate Professor Ross Hemera (Ngäi Tahu), from the College of Creative Arts, Massey in Wellington, says his mother told him e was talking with his mum and it turns that her father out his grandfather is believed to be buried in the urupa (cemetery) near the marae, where he is to install a new carved waharoa (gateway) this weekend.

“It has been rewarding on so many levels connecting with the Huirapa whänau, least of which is the opportunity to collaborate with other Ngäi Tahu artists,” Mr Hemeera he says.

“For me working with Mäori communities, especially my own iwi, validates what I do as an artist.” On the gateway project, he has collaborated with another Ngäi Tahi artist, with carver James York. While Mr Hemera has been sculpting the totara and aluminium posts (amo) of the gateway from his Wellington studio,. Mr York has been working on the (maihi) barge boards from his studio in Dunedin and the two compare notes and collaborate most often by phone, email and occasionally in person.

“Working with other artists, and the community, is an essential part of Mäori creative practice," Mr Hemera says. "As Mäori and as Ngäi Tahu I enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the collective aspirations of the community. When working with our art forms the concept of taonga tuku iho is the pervading kaupapa – the knowledge that comes from the atua (gods), and ancestors – this is treasured, added to and developed and then passed on to others. These concepts also underpin my teaching practice.”

“The waharoa (gateway) conforms to a traditional amo and maihi, convention, with two side posts and gabled barge boards. "It is made from totara the customary timber for such structures. The carved elements and surface patterns are reduced to a bare minimum. However, some contemporary elements have been introduced through the use of aluminium components. At it’s widest the gateway spans about 6msix metres and is about 3mthree meters high at the apex.,” he says,

Mr Hemera has worked at Massey for 14 years in a variety of teaching and researching roles. “Part of my work as an academic at Massey involves creative practice in the visual arts. Another expectation is connecting and working with communities. I feel fortunate that I have been able to undertake both of these aspects within the context of my whänau and iwi.”

He says the newly built wharenui and wharekai have had a number of carvings completed by Mr York recently. The new gateway collaboration will be dedicated on Sunday. 27 July.

Mr Hemera and Mr York are also part of a new exhibition of the works of six Ngäi Tahu artists which opens at Gallery 33 in Wanaka on Friday and runs until 15 August.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

TV3 Video: Auckland Arts Festival Kicks Off

The Auckland Arts Festival kicks off March 4, with artists from New Zealand and all over the world on show. More>>

ALSO:

Te Matatini: Minister Applauds National Kapa Haka Festival

Education Minister Hekia Parata wishes the best of luck to everyone involved in this week’s national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, in Christchurch. “Te Matatini showcases the very best of Māori performing arts talent. It’s a celebration of identity, language and culture at the highest level and I’m looking forward to being amongst it,” says Ms Parata. More>>

ALSO:

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news