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My travelling mountains s e r i e s





A l l w o r k s

© 2012




unless all

Rangihīroa otherwise



Pā n o h o

in &

Pā n o h o

i n d i c at e d








Mark Adams, Tokatoka te Maunga Haere, 1998 in upcoming PIHIRAU PRODUCTION publication ‘Te Hokinga Mai: The Returning’ NFS

Mountains Whatitiri te maunga tu tönu, tü te Ao tü te Po! Ngä tini puna koropupü ake ana i tana waewae Waipao te awa i rukuhia i inuhia öku mätua tüpuna Maungärongo te marae kei mihi ki te hunga ora Hei tangi ki te hunga mate Ko Henare Pänoho te tupuna tane Ko Peata Pänoho te tupuna whaea Ko Te Parawhau me Te Uriroroi ngä hapü Ko Ngä Puhinui tönu te iwi



1. Āku Maunga Haere, Te Ārai Series I, 2012 acrylic, conte, pastel and watercolour on paper, 660 x 1110, $345 GST INCL.


Āku Maunga Haere, Te Ārai Series I, 2012, details



Āku Maunga Haere, Te Ārai Series I, 2012, details


Āku Maunga Haere, Te Ārai Series I, 2012, details


Āku Maunga Haere, Te Ārai Series I, 2012, details


Āku Maunga Haere I, Te Ārai Series, 2012, details


Āku Maunga Haere I, Te Ārai Series, 2012, details


Āku Maunga Haere II, Te Ārai Series, 2012, trypich, acrylic, watercolour, coloured inks, conte, pastel and on paper (each

panel 660 x 1110)

$1650 GST INCL.



Āku Maunga Haere II, Te Ārai Series, 2012, trypich, details

$1650 GST INCL

details: panel II -Maunga

details: panel III -haere


3. After Warhol, Baby Pig on Platter beneath Korowai Tassels #2, 2012, acrylic, watercolour, coloured inks, conte, pastel and on paper, 660 x 1110 $287.50, GST

details: AFTER WARHOL’s Pig

kaupapa: Te ĀRAI SERIES A note about these works

Māori believe that natural forms and living creatures present in Aotearoa travelled from their Polynesian Hawaiki in the South Pacific to the new land. Whānau a Apanui, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, celebrate the arrival of the moki fish as a special connection with Hawaiki and with their ancestors. It is their pledge to look after the fish that has contemporary ramifications. If they are not worthy kaitiaki ‘guardians’ they face the departure of their taonga back to its original homeland. Much of the intent of these paintings then has to do with the departure or the return of a resource. Maunga ‘mountains’ are also described in Māori cosmologies as migratory in the sense that they too possess locomotive properties. In Tai Tokerau ‘the north,’ for example, a series of mountains are connected with these migrations. Prominent among them on the west coast in the northern Kaipara Harbour is the spectacular volcanic ‘plug’ or puru Tokatoka seen in the Mark Adams aerial photograph. Travel from the homeland appears to have been a night-time activity. It is only the daylight that is said to have been able to halt Tokatoka and other local maunga in their movement towards Ripiro - the west coast beach on the north Kaipara peninsula. Āku Maunga Haere I is a reference to the prowess of these mountains but also their vulnerability like the moki fish to abuse. The series is the beginning of a number of different explorations of the way in which these natural resources are currently being treated. This suite of five images begins with the last image in this portfolio After Warhol, Baby Pig on Platter Beneath Korowai Silk Tassells. This unlikely beginning involves one of Warhol’s great sketches from the early commercial period of his career matched with a local form. In the earlier Te Ngakau Series portfolio ( July 2012) I made reference in Tuia i Runga to hukahuka ‘cloak appendages.’ The use of the tassle that veils these kinds of stories throughout the upper section of the painting is a tribute to the work of Māori artist John Ford who frequently depicted his carefully drawn cloaks hanging over their respective

tribal landscapes. Unlike Ford’s metaphor that which is obscured is perhaps more important than that which is revealed. One the meanings conveyed by the kupu ‘Te Ārai’ is veil and I connect the veil of hukahuka in my work with the veiling and oiling of the original mauri stone when it stood on special sites like Rarotonga ‘Mt Smart’ and Te Ārai. The connection of the fibrous material with the stone is what helped activate its form. My interest grew out of an innovative revision of the now well known weaving experiments by expert women weavers of the nineteenth century.

In 1989 I happened to be working as a curator for Te Ao Māori, a large show of work by contemporary Māori artists for the Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui. One of the weavers in the exhibition, Aromea Tahiwi, was creating beautiful abstract shapes in cut silk that resonated the experiments of the nineteenth weavers with western materials and colours in their extraordinary korowai. The tassled forms in the paintings After Warhol and Āku Maunga Haere I are references to these flowerings in Māori art. They begin to take on a more serious tone with the latter work. Āku Maunga Haere I deals with the migration of an ancestral waka Moekākara bringing the ancestor Tāhuhunui o te Rangi to Te Ārai on the East Coast of Aotearoa midway between Tāmaki and Whāngarei. There is a reference to travelling mountains in the waka featured. The ngakau ‘heart’ shape recurs in this work indicating the connections with homeland, ancestors and the emotional nature of diasporic migration. I turn the form upside down in panel II of Āku Maunga Haere to infer the planting of the identity as a maunga, a puna, a tuna ‘eel’ and the beginning of an awa, like the Northern Wairoa, that is viewed from the air as in the Adams image.

The landing of the Moekākara (the ancestral waka of those affiliated with Ngai Tāhuhu) on the opposite coast at Te Ārai is significant. It is a special place for descendants with an important history relating to the uruuruwhenua ‘settlement’ rites. The erection of a special basalt rock as a mauri stone for the tribe is one of the most potent visual legacies in Ngai Tāhuhu tradition connected with Te Ārai. There is a family connection with the rock (now discreetly situated on display at Logan Campbell Park near the Barbeque area). It was named Te Toka i Tawhio ‘the rock that moves around’ as was the Ruangaio leader and ancestress Te Toka i Tawhio in memory of its desecration atop the pā Te Tatua o Riukiuta ‘Three Kings’ in Tāmaki. The special mauri stone is referenced in one of the arriving waka that is depicted in Āku Maunga Haere I. Āku Maunga Haere II, Te Ārai Series is a triptych that begins to look at the contemporary legacy of exploiting the natural resources of Aotearoa. If our traditions say that maunga travelled to Aotearoa then there are new mobile treatments of these mountains where their resources and being are tavelling elsewhere. The whole painting is a waka form. It cuts through its landscape as a barge or as an aeroplane with numerous portals through which to view the environment, its more recent history involving a bricolage of culture. The first panel looks at the mining of the materials that the mountain holds. The mountain literally is travelling to other places as road metal or track fill for railway lines (see Te Tatua o Riukiuta and nearby Owairaka for the north western line to Helensville in Kaipara). There are references to the transmission of power and telecommunications. The second and third panels focus on the taking of the headwaters of the rivers that flow off the mountains. Water and ownership or guardianship rights around the resource is a debate between iwi leaders and government that is steadily gathering momentum in Aotearoa. Water like all living forms has a mauri ‘life force’ and this can be severely effected if the flow is blocked, impeded or seriously drained. One vignette in the 2nd panel makes reference to my grandmother and great aunt’s land

around and including Omiru Falls, (the last navigable point on the Northern Wairoa River). A serious cut in the land was made to create a shute that diverted one of the few white water areas in Tai Tokerau for hydro electricity. I imagine Omiru as an unimpeded flow in full family ownership prior to industry demands and the laws passed by parliament allowing local government to claim ownership of lands under high water. Tiki hands are shown embracing what for Nga Puhi is considered a taonga ‘treasure.’ The words ‘IOU’ recur throughout Āku Maunga Haere II because that was the way in which large parts of valuable land were seperated from their Māori owners. Whatitiri the sacred maunga of my grandfather’s people Te Uriroroi was alienated (mischeivously procured) from ancestors partly by accounts of landowners being charged up at the local store. It was also taken as part payments for surveying services that were never commissioned. A map of Whatitiri is provided that shows the complex tracing of roads that today subdivide large kiwi fruit, citrus and avocado orchards. The mountain has travelled into a rigorously controlled commercial environment that heavily draws on its enormous reserves of underground water. The current appearance of the mountain bears little connection with the forests that once covered it. It takes a healthy imagination to now see the volcano as an ancient bird sanctuary that once had a tapu placed over the extraction of its resources according to seasons and passage of people on its slopes. Waipao, the awa that feeds off it, once involved a flow with enough force to ‘clatter rocks’ described in its naming. Here our ancestors bathed, drank and sought healing in its pure waters. Today the elders of Whatitiri are engaged in an ongoing dispute with the local council over the guardianship of the battered resource that is overused and badly.

Ä€ku Maunga Haere II suggests that these special places and resources like the French apple tart, repeatedly referenced, can too easily be divided up and eventually completely consumed. This is one journey that unlike Hawaiki features no return. Once the resource has travelled and has truly gone then it might be said to be truly dead. Wai ngaro is a phrase used in the final panel to describe a space as deep and as lifeless as that which holds the the moa of Aotearoa as with the dodo of Mauritius and Madagascar.

arohanui ki a koutou nÄ Rangi

Āku Maunga Haere  

'My Travelling Mountains' A series of original paintings created for PIHIRAU PRODUCTIONS LTD