Friday, July 30, 2010

Kaitiaki - Trustee/Guardian

I love walking a city and unexpectedly coming upon a work of public art.
Wellington is perfect for that because of the intimate nature of the city and the proliferation of public artworks. Here, in Auckland, because of the far greater spread of the city and the tucked-away nature of many of the sculptures (and, it must be said, a lack of promotion), I tend to "stumble on artwork" far less often. So I was delighted when I walked around the corner and discovered this gleaming work "Kaitiaki II" (Trustee), by Maori artist, Fred Graham.
It's located down the lower end of Queen Street.

A few days later, I happened upon this second dramatic piece by Graham, Kaitiaki .
It's part of the Auckland Domain Scupture walk, initiated in 2001 and funded by the P.A. Edmiston Trust with assistance from the NZ Lotteries Grants Board Millennium Fund.
Fred Graham (b 1928), Ngati Koroki, Ngati Raukawa, studied art at Ardmore and Dunedin Teachers' College and became one of the young Maori artists to work under celebrated Maori carver, Pine (Pineamine) Taiapa, Ngati Porou (1901-1972), who between 1946-71 worked on 39 traditional meeting houses, including the spectacular whare runanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds). Graham though, soon became interested in alternative materials and non-traditional expression and moved toward sculpture, using stainless steel, copper and native and exotic timbers. This work in the Auckland Domain, close to Auckland Museum, represents a hawk.
I like the way it's huge, swooping, menacing form so perfectly represents the predator qualities of the hawk at the same time, casting a vast, protective shadow across the land beneath.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Place of Celebration

Back in May, when I was travelling up the North Island, I saw a monument on the side of the road (below), just south of Otorohanga in the South Waikato/Waitomo area. I spun around and pulled into the side parking area to see what it was all about.

That's when I saw the yellow road sign marking Rereamanu Marae.
And looking to my left, I saw it - down a narrow, unsealed road, far below, huddled in a valley, surrounded by those distinctive rolling green, south Waikato hills - a perfect, private setting tucked away from the mad rush of the main highway.

It was here - at Rereamanu Marae, on February 5, 2009, that Ngati Maniapoto hosted tribes from all over New Zealand - and Te Arikinui, King Tuheitia, to mark and celebrate 150 years of the Kingitanga Movement. The 3-day event was hosted here at Rereamanu because it is the closest site to where Chief Potatau Te Wherowhero was confirmed as Maniapoto's choice to become the first Maori King. Potatau was subsequently crowned the first Maori King in Ngaruawahia in April, 1858. The memorial above marks the site of the first meeting of those chiefly discussions and chronicles the history.
As I stood on the side of the highway reading this history, I was struck once again by the thought that we sail by so much in life - everyday markers and places - without ever knowing what has gone before us. I for one, have driven past this memorial an uncountable number of times previously without knowing its significance. I left, glad I had stopped and without wanting to sound corny, I somehow felt a little richer for the knowledge and the landscapes - the memorial and marae huddled down in the valley - I had seen in fifteen short minutes.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More from the Tattoo Files

One Man
Two Tattoos
An Incomplete Picture
Takahanga Marae, Kaikoura.
Feb.2010. Ajr

Friday, July 23, 2010

Maori Place Names - 71

North of Whanganui
North Island
May 2010. Ajr

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hooks and Chisels

" Rei matua, hei taonga e mau noa ana ki te tane/wahine ranei.
Purehurehu, Wahapu o Otago
Fish-hook breast pendants (hei matau) are stylised fish hooks meant only for ornamental use.
Pahia and Haywards Point, Otago Peninsula
Pleasant River Mouth, North Otago.
I mahia nga whao, ahakoa te rahi, kia whaowhao i nga whakairo tino uaua
Chisels (flat blades) and gouges (curved blades) of all sizes and profiles were specially developed for the production of intricate woodcarving.
Whareakeake, Otago Heads."
Notes from Otago Museum exhibition display.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Waitomo Guardian

I love the new entrance to Waitomo Glowworm Caves and I was fascinated on a recent visit by the pouwhenua decorating the forecourt. I've never seen Maori carving like this before - not incorporating flowers and birds at least. It seems a quirky departure from tradition.

Te Poupou a Tane Mahuta was unveiled on December 28, 1987 by Robert W Stannard CMG and Claude Taane to commemorate the centennial of the first exploration of the Waitomo Caves.

The carving depicts Tane Mahuta, God of the Forest, guarding the entrance to the caves and their inhabitants below. The Chief Carver was Tutunui Te Kanawa helped by around a dozen others. It's a magnificent entry statement that draws a lot of attention. When I visited a bus load of Japanese were all taking each other's photographs in front of it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

From the Museum Files - Otago

Details of Ngati Porou Carvings, made near napier in the late 1870s
In the Collection of Otago Museum, Dunedin.
If you click on the words Otago Museum in the label line below, you'll be able to view a number of other exquisite pieces from the museum's Maori Collections.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Giant in Miniature

A Giant Sculpture
Rendered Small
Takahanga Marae
Feb.2010. Ajr

Maori Place Names - 70

East Cape
North Island
May 2009 Ajr

Monday, July 12, 2010

Traditional Designs - 19

School Shed
Red and Black
Traditional Designs
Oroua Downs Primary School
South of Shannon, North Island
June 2010. Ajr

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Architecture - Traditional and Contemporary.

There's something wonderfully unexpected about coming upon a Marae in the middle of highrise architecture.

That's what I thought when I spotted Auckland University's Nga Wai o Horotia Marae, dwarfed by the towering highrise on Symonds Street in Auckland a few weeks ago. Wonderful iron gates of a contemporary design too - I wonder who designed those?
As I travel New Zealand I'm so used to finding marae tucked away down little side roads, often well off the beaten track, that I did a double-take when I first glimpsed this one and wondered if I might be imaging it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Teremoe - A Waka Taua

This is one of those times when I opted for the close up detail of a thing, rather than the traditional overview. I often think the details of an object say more about it that a simple shot that shows it in totality.
So this is Teremoe - a waka taua
(A War Canoe)
Photographed at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa
According to the Te Papa information panels the waka is made of totara and was a bequest of the Hipango family in 1930. "When Teremoe came to the Dominion Museum (Te Papa's predecessor) in 1930, it was reconstructed as a waka taua by Thomas Heberley, the museum's resident carver. He added the tauiho (prow), which came from Matata in the Bay of Plenty and the taurapa (stern post), which came from Papaitonga Horowhenua. he also carved the rauawa (upperside planking) [below].
"Teremoe once belonged to upper river leaders, Te Reimana Te Kaporere and Matene Rangitauira, both of whom were involved in wars against the Pakeha government in the 1860s. Teremoe saw action in the hostilities that broke out on the river, including the battle between lower and upper river parts of the Whanganui iwi, fought at Moutoa Island, near Ranana. Teremoe was also involved in the pursuit of the guerrilla leader, Te Kooti Arikirangi in 1869, when both syupporters and opponents of the colonial givernment collaborated to drive him out of the region." [Quotes from Te Papa information plaques].

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Gateway For History

I photographed this contemporary carved Maori gateway at Dunedin's Otago Museum last month - so different to traditional works, yet still beautiful in an entirely different way. You'll notice that, as always, I homed in on the cast shadows.
According to the museum exhibition notes, Nga Waka Tupuna o te Tai-o-Araiteuru - The Ancestral canoes of the Otago Coast - was made for the Otago Museum by the manawhenua of the Otago region, under the guidance of the artist, Cliff Whiting. A dedication ceremony was held for the gateway at the Otago Museum on November 27, 1990. The carvings on the front of the gateway depict the three canoes, Uruao, Araiteuru and Takitimu. The totara wood figures represent four important South Island ancestors.

Monday, July 5, 2010

On a School Gate

I loved this gateway to Te Kuiti Primary School, which I photographed on my recent fleeting visit to the town. It caught my eye as I was leaving town, so of course I spun the car around and went back to take photos.


Maori Place Names - 69

Waihao Marae
South Island
May 2010, Ajr.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Museum Beauty

I don't know anything about this beautiful, carved figure - other than the fact that it is one of the many exquisite pieces in the collection of the National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. I did look for an explanatory plaque but couldn't find one. I do like to have the names of things but sometimes I guess it's just okay to admire the beauty. Let's make this one of those occasions.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Architectural Embellishments

I photographed these Maori decorations on the old Martime Building in Dunedin - thanks to a tip-off from a Dunedin friend 'in the know.' I had already driven by the building several times without noticing it and even when given the address, I still found it easy to overlook. But perhaps there's a little beauty in that even - that this little architectural secret sits tucked away in a Dunedin corner without any great fanfare.

Now, just for the record, I was going to write the address here so if any of you just happened to be in Dunedin and were interested........ but in a crazy twist of fate I seem to have mislaid it. If any Dunedin readers know it, maybe you'd like to leave it in a comment?


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