(image: Folding Mountains – paper & ink)
There is an ancient whakatauki (Maori proverb):
Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei
Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain
This whakatauki is about aiming high for what is truly valuable, the message is to be persistent and don’t let obstacles stop you from reaching your goal.
Again I am blown away by the state of our country and the priorities of the ‘Departments’ that are supposed to be looking after our last places of cultural & natural beauty. You can read about it in this article “From National Park to overseas: Plan to export billions of litres of West Coast water” . Some how it has been kept quiet for years or maybe its because they are whispering in the ears of those who have one thing in mind – money. Who knows, but the claim that an operation such as this one, would not negatively impact the surrounding environment is incredible. I am thankful there are people out there watching, who are not afraid to take a stand – Jan Branje has launched a petition to save our water sources on the West Coast -Petition to protect Mt Aspiring here.
(Deep in the Southern Alps)
I am hoping to get back to the the South Island at some stage this year, to film and document our water journey on the West coast. I have made several video works based on my experience of the landscape in the Southern Alps Ka Tiritiri moana. Some what romantic in nature, I sat in the environment and let nature unfold in front of the lens, then I digitally wove the video imagery using the same visual techniques as traditional Maori weaving ie. mirroring and repetition. The works were shown in Te Toi Hau group exhibition at North Art Gallery, Exhibition 2 group show artbase.org and Since 1984: He aha te ahurea-rua? group show St Paul St Gallery – I included this whakatauki as text with the video work ‘History repeating: no comment’ 2015.
My focus on the visual development of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and spending so much time sitting with nature, being absorbed by the environment has meant that I find it more and more difficult not to critique the way our natural resources are managed and the subsequent need to illustrate this in my work. This was the start of the Makutu series, for the 3rd installment I will return to Te Wai Pounamu the South Island. I will be asking some important questions of the local communities and Iwi down there. The issues for our water sources grow by the day – our rivers, our lakes – the puna or the source of purest water in the mountains. See an article on radio NZ about the Maori view of water ‘ownership’ everyone has an interest in our water sources. Circling back to the words of our Tupuna (ancestors), together – we all need to persistently aim high when it comes to the protection of our water
Nga mihi nui,