Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Portrait - 8

At the Opening
Te Hokinga Mai
Canterbury Museum, Christchurch
February 2010.Ajr

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pounamu - An Endless Choice

Wherever you travel within New Zealand, you're seldom short of an opportunity to buy a pounamu (greenstone) souvenir. The choice is endless. It does pay to be aware though, that not all pounamu souvenirs are handcrafted in New Zealand by Maori craftsmen; a good number of the cheaper works are mass produced in places like China and Taiwan. So if you're after an authentic Maori carving, make sure you check its source - and be prepared to pay a decent sum of money for a collectors piece and a potential family heirloom.

Monday, March 29, 2010

One Marae, Many Carvings

During my travels around New Zealand last year (while researching the 6th edition of the travel guide Frommers New Zealand), I must have visited at least 250 marae. One that left a lasting impression on me, for its beautiful carvings, was Papawai Marae in Greytown, in the Wairarapa, north of Wellington. I've written about the history of the marae more fully previously (click on Papawai Marae in the label line below); and of the my personal connection to it. It must have been at least thirty years since I had last visited the marae and much has been done to restore it to its former glory. I spent many minutes there, leaning over the fence in the warm morning sun, reminiscing and thinking about the past, the history, the present. A lovely interlude on my day trip from Napier to Wellington.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Photographic Moment

One of my favourite recent photographs
Tokotoko - Walking Stick
A Proud Prop in a Local Conversation

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From the Kete Files

One Kete
Hanging on a Wall
Ajr 2009

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Portrait - 7

Small Boy
Investigating at Tuahiwi Marae
2009. Ajr

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Maori Place Names - 56

Rotorua, North island
May 2009, Ajr

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More From Mo Tatou

Te Hokinga Mai: Featuring Mo Tatou: The Ngai Tahu Whanui Exhibition from Te Papa and Mo Ka Uri: Taonga from Canterbury Museum, is a stunning show of artefacts and Maori treasures now showing at Canterbury Museum. Mo Tatou opened at Te Papa in Wellington in June 2006 and closed August 2009. It has been reworked to tour three South Island venues - in Christchurch, Dunedin and Southland.
A feature of the exhibition is the juxtaposition between the ancient and the new, the customary and the cutting edge; and many of the works from the Canterbury Museum collection featured in the Mo Ka Uri section of the exhibition, have never previously been exhibited. It includes a beautiful display of exquisitely crafted baskets and cloaks, and ancient carvings, rock art fragments and statues that ooze history and mystique.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Poi Collage

I've been playing about with assorted photo-shopping programmes to see which one will produce the best collages and panoramas. This is one result - poi dancers performing at Whakarewarewa Thermal Village when I visited Rotorua last year. There is room for improvement though, so expect to see a few more experiments in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about Whakarewarewa, either click on their name in the label line below this post for other things I've written, or check their website:

Contemporary Carving

I photographed this contemporary carving last year at Hokonui Marae in Gore in the South Island. I was visiting the marae to research one of the traditional kai features for Ngai Tahu's TE KARAKA magazine and in between courses, I ambled about the marae grounds photographing points of interest. I made the mistake of not finding out who the carver was but I'm featuring it here regardless because it highlights contemporary carving expression and technique.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crossing the Hokianga

It was a perfect, still, blue-skied, Far North day when I crossed the Hokianga Harbour from Kohukohu to Rawene on May 2 last year. (Approaching Rawene Wharf above).
I caught the ferry in the knick of time - I had been dawdling outside Tauteihiihi Marae at Kohukohu, taking photographs - and as I leapt aboard, I couldn't help noticing the eerie tumble of clouds perfectly reflected in the millpond waters of the harbour.
My experience of Hokianga Harbour and the surrounding landscapes is limited - basically just two trips across on the ferry. But the area is riddled with Maori history and interesting Maori settlements and one day, I hope to spend several weeks in the area, following remote side roads to discover the inner workings of the place. On last year's trip (while researching the 6th edition of Frommers New Zealand), I did manage to see a lot more but I seldom had the time to linger long, or to go too far off the main highway. Like Eastland's Tuhoe country, it's one of the few areas of New Zealand I don't know like the back of my hand and I hanker after the time to them both justice.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maori Place Names - 55

Turangawaewae Marae,
Ngaruawahia, Near Hamilton
Central North Island
April 2009, Ajr

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Portrait - 6

Singing Along
At Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau
Takutai o te Titi Marae, Colac Bay
November 2009, Ajr

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Look at the Details

As someone a little obsessed with the small details of life, this image should not come as any surprise. It's a close-up view of the carving detail on a beautiful piece at Waitangi's Te Tii Marae in the Far North's Bay of Islands.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Whakarewarewa - Two Sides

Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is one of New Zealand's iconic tourism attractions. In addition to its natural geothermal activity, the village is home to the Ngati Wahiao people, who have resided here for over 300 years, tapping into the geothermal resources for cooking and washing practices. If you visit, you'll get an insight into both their traditional and contemporary way of life. The above carving is a detail from the wharenui (meeting house) of Wahiao Marae - one of dozens of traditional carvings that give Whakarewarewa so much character.

But you don't have to go far to see that the seventy or so people (in 25 families) living in the village live ordinary lives that involve doing things like the daily washing. Some may be employed as your tour guide, some may be weavers, carvers or tattoists, but at the end of the day they are simply New Zealanders going about everyday life - privileged if you ask me, to live in a unique place so riddled with history and mystery.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maori Place Names - 54

Parapara, Near Taipa
Far North, North Island
April 2009. Ajr

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From the Kete Files

Kete on Display
Hokonui Marae,
Gore, Southland
2008. Ajr

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Portrait - 5

A Kapa Haka Performer
Te Puia, Rotorua
May 2009

Sunday, March 14, 2010

East Cape Carving

Stunning Carvings at Te Manawa Pouri Marae
Tokomaru Bay, East Cape
North Island
May 2009, Ajr

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Carving Detail

Up Close
Carving Detail
At the entry to Whakarewarewa Thermal Village
May 2009 Ajr

Friday, March 12, 2010

More From the Kete Files

Of the dozens and dozens and dozens of kete (baskets) I have photographed over the last year, this one remains my favourite. I snapped it at the Weaving School at Rotorua's Te Puia - a marvellous place to see weavers at work. There you'll see the whole process - from green fibre all the way through preparation, drying, dyeing and weaving. And in the unlikely event you get bored with that, you can walk next door to Te Wananga Whakairo - The Carving School...which I've also featured on this blog recently. (Click on words in the label line below this post if you'd like to see more).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Portrait - 4

In a Bus
Weaving on the Move
South Island

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Korowai - In Detail

This is a close-up shot of the taniko weaving that borders the korowai (cloak) worn by Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu at the dawn opening ceremony of Te Hokinga Mai, a stunning display of Ngai Tahu taonga (treasures) now showing at Robert McDougall Gallery, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch. You can see other photographs (including cloaks) from the dawn ceremony by clicking on Te Hokinga Mai in the label line below this post.

Maori Place Names - 53

Ohinemutu, Rotorua
Central North Island
May 2009, Ajr

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meet the People - 29

Another in the Series Meet the People - Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things - Grant Ryan (Ngai Tahu) has a huge and growing list of ideas he plans to work on. That's a good thing when you're a highly successful and motivated inventor and entrepreneur and Grant's commitment to making clever ideas a reality has already come a long way. One of his latest inventions, the Yike Bike (shown below), has been acclaimed the 15th Best Invention of the Year in Time Magazine's Top 50 Inventions of 2009.
For Grant, who was born in the tiny Southland settlement of Otautau and grew up in Invercargill, it is a pleasing and unexpected accolade but true to his quiet persona, he's not one to make a big deal about it. The Yike Bike though, is the smallest, lightest electric folding bicycle in the world. Weighing less than 10kg, it folds down to the size of a laptop and can be carried on buses, trains and cars and stored easily in an office cupboard. Not surprisingly, it is expected to revotuionize urban commuting internationally.
Grant, 40 is a big thinker with a degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in ecological economics from Canterbury University and the Yike Bike is just one of many already-successful projects he has embarked upon - and it won't be the last. Following on from the development of a social networking company, a software-as-a-service exporter and an Internet search company, the Yike Bike is just the beginning. Grant, shown above with his cousin, fellow engineer and business associate, Caleb Smith (Ngai Tahu), is excited about the potential the Yike Bike has shown. The company already has orders for the bike from all over the world - despite a handsome price tage of around 3,500Euros (NZ$7000), which puts it at the Porsche end of the market. The first models are due off the production line some time this year and Grant is sure they will herald the beginning of an all-new approach to transport in congested urban centres around the world. It's a long, long way from Otautau and Grant is already thinking about his next big idea.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More from the Kete Files

One Woven Kete
On Display
Whakarewarewa Thermal Village

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Model Village

An Intricate Model of a Traditional Maori Pa


On Display

Auckland Museum

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Poi at Rest

Hanging from an Antler
An Unexpected Vignette at Whakarewarewa.
May 2009, Ajr

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tiki in a Tree

There's something incredibly 'alive' about this particular tiki, seen here on the promotional flag for Mo Tatou, the stunning exhibition of Ngai Tahu taonga (treasures) now showing as part of Te Hokinga Mai at Robert McDougall Gallery, Canterbury Museum, in Christchurch. It is dated from the 1840s and has been attributed to the Ngai Tahu whanui. It is currently on loan (in the exhibition) from Southland Museum and Art Gallery. I took this shot - and many others - at the dawn opening ceremony for the exhibition last Saturday (Feb 20th) - and you can see more of those if you click Te Hokinga Mai in the label line below this post.

Maori Place Names - 52

Fitzgerald Glade, Near Rotorua.
Central North Island
May 2009 Ajr

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weaving - In Four Parts

I love trying to capture the detail of craftspeople of any kind at work. There's often a greater beauty (for me) in those tiny, close-up movements than in the bigger picture. I took these photographs at The Weaving School at Rotorua's Te Puia.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Portrait - 3

A Young Maori Carver
Te Wananga Whakairo
(The Carving School)
Te Puia, Rotorua
May 2009

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More From the Kete Files

One Morning Weaving
A Small Kete Completed
Takutai o te Titi Marae
Colac Bay, Southland
Nov.2009 Ajr

Monday, March 1, 2010

Maori Proverbs - 6

Maori Proverbs = He Whakatauaki
Maramara nui a Mahi ka riro i a Noho
Big chips from the worker's chisel reach those who sit around.
(Lazybones gets some of the benefits of the hard worker)
From The Reed Pocket Dictionary of Modern Maori By P.M.Ryan


Blog Widget by LinkWithin