Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
In November, I attended the opening of Ngati Wheke's new whare tipuna at Rapaki Marae, over the hills from Christchurch. It was a long stay that started with a dawn ceremony at 4.30am. It was also a baking hot day and, as usual, I was drawn to people wearing hats.
I love photographing people in hats. They add 'something extra' - more to the point, I think a hat *says* something extra about a person; and they add another compositional dimension to a photograph. So it's a recurring theme for me. But rather than prattling on, here are a few of the hats I photographed on the day.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
It was a cold winter day, pouring with rain when I pulled into the small South Waikato town of Kihikihi during my recent North Island travels. This is where I discovered the memorial to Rewi Manga Maniapoto (c 1815-1894) - a memorial that he in fact supervised during its construction before his death.
Rewi Maniapoto was born to the Ngati Paretekawa hapu of Ngati Maniapoto in the early 19th century. He was educated at the Wesleyan Mission Station, Te Kopua and much later, he was widely respected for his knowledge, oratory, leadership and military skills. During the British Invasion of the Waikato in 1863-64, around 1,100 British troops attacked Rewi Maniapoto's base at Orakau Pa and he and around 300 followers, resisted any form of surrender for three days. Despite being surrounded by british, manymaori escaped into the bush. This event became known as Rewi's last stand.
After the siege, Rewi's prestige rose among Pakeha and several years later (1879), he was given a hero's welcome in Auckland, followed by the construction of this public monument in Kihikihi, which he himself supervised. A plaque on the monument states that Governor George Grey proposed that "Warrior Chief Rewi Maniapoto live at Kihikihi as a gesture of Maori and Pakeha unity. "Rewi, let us plant our tree of peace at Kihikihi in the midst of our children and when this tree bears fruit our children, both Maori and Pakeha, can help themselves," Grey said at Waitara in 1878.
The monument honouring Rewi Maniapoto was unveiled at Kihikihi in April 1894 and he died two months later. After a great tangi (funeral), he was buried at the foot of the memorial.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I took this series of photographs of tokotoko (walking sticks) at the opening of Ngati Wheke's new whare tipuna at Rapaki Marae in November. The men you see carrying tokotoko at a hui (meeting) or on a marae (meeting place), are generally those recognised as orators, with an authority to speak (at the gathering).
The tokotoko is very much an object of beauty, symbolic of authority and status; and it is generally decorated with carving that represents the owner's ancestry, or a legend. Historically it represented the history from which that status was derived and in former times, they were often notched with carvings which successive generations of owners used to help them recite their genealogy.
Technically they're far from perfect and most photographers would probably delete them immediately Not me. There's often something visually appealing about a partially blurred photograph - a sense of movement, a fleeting mood - and as long as the item is still recognisable, I'll often keep it. This is one example - two teenage girls that I photographed at the opening of Rapaki Marae over the hill from Christchurch, in November. A number of things appeal to me about this image - the pink korowai (cloak) [it's not often you see a pink cloak for a start]; the way the feathers have blurred (reminding me of a bird in flight); and the traditional taniko weaving and the hei tiki on the second girl's neck, in close proximity to the modern cellphone that one of them is clutching. It's a shot of it's time in that sense.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Another in the Series Meet the People - Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things - Michael Bradley (Rangitane) and his wife, Lynette (Ngati Porou), have made it their mission to restore pride in the Rangitane iwi and to reconnect iwi members with their past. To that end, they've established Shark Nett Gallery, on the outskirts of Havelock at the top of the South Island, where they are displaying a phenomenal collection of Rangitane carvings, all commissioned and completed in the last twenty years.
"The purpose of the collection was to ensure our children and grandchildren were exposed to the traditional and contemporary carvings, drawings and paintings that are linked to their heritage in the Kaituna, Hoiere, Ana Mahunga, Totaranui (Queen Charlotte Sound), Wairau (Blenheim) districts and to confirm their blood ties with those previous occupiers and owners of land from D'Urville Island to the Clarence River, whose history stretches back 1,000 years," says Michael. Carvers were commissioned to reproduce the traditional history of the Rangitane people of the Marlborough Sounds; and the focus of the carvings is on the ancestors of significance and other important local stories of significance.
All that started twenty years ago and since then, Michael and Lynette have established a collection that is believed to be one of the largest privately-owned collections (not for sale) in the world. Carving is ongoing and most has been produced by carvers Paul Johnson (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Kuri), Ari Liddington (Ngati Toa), Carl Macdonald (Rangitane) and Matthew Grant (Rangitane). Michael also started carving five years ago and all wood used is sourced from the Kaituna and Hoiere Rivers of Havelock and most is matai or totara.
"Much of the art we had as a people was lost through confiscation, theft and damage in previous centuries," says Michael. "I wanted to restore pride in our iwi and reconnect us with out past, so when I was working as the Rangitane Chairman, I set up a wood carving course so carvers could begin telling the tribe's history." Since then, the couple have accumulated over 200 carvings, 70 of which are now on display in their Havelock gallery. They also display a wide range of feather korowai (cloaks) made by Ngati Koata. Small carved items, other wooden items and a selection of bone and whale bone products are also for sale. They offer tours of the gallery twice a day and they're now planning to add a cafe to the complex. The gallery is at 129 Queen Charlotte Drive and is open from 10am-4pm daily with guided tours at 11am and 2pm.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Sometimes a photograph really does say all you need.
Often, those photographs are in the detail of things.
If you'd like to see more shots from this year's Hui-a-Tau
Or from Hui-a-Tau 2009 at Colac Bay in Southland
Or from Hui-a-Tau 2009 at Colac Bay in Southland
Click on Hui-a-Tau in the label line below this post.