Tūrangawaewae | a place to stand


“Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness. As dusk approaches in the hinterlands, a traveler ponders shelter for the night. He notices tall rushes growing everywhere, so he bundles an armful together as they stand in the field, and knots them at the top. Presto, a living grass hut. The next morning, before embarking on another day’s journey, he unknots the rushes and presto, the hut de-constructs, disappears, and becomes a virtually indistinguishable part of the larger field of rushes once again. The original wilderness seems to be restored, but minute traces of the shelter remain. A slight twist or bend in a reed here and there. There is also the memory of the hut in the mind of the traveler — and in the mind of the reader reading this description. Wabi-sabi, in its purest, most idealized form, is precisely about these delicate traces, this faint evidence, at the borders of nothingness.” – Leonard Koren from the book Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers.

My name is Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka. I am a Māori artist of Nga Puhi, Ngati Pakau & Waitaha tribe, living and working in Aotearoa New Zealand & Founder of  Positive by Nature.

As an artist I use film, photography, paint, drawing materials, natural materials and sound to design experiential spatial light and sound installations.

The source of my creative process is Wairua (spirit). While working it is part of my process to establish a connection to this link through Te Aho Tapu or the tie that binds us all. While in the landscape filming, I do this by recounting my whakapapa (genealogy). The sounds of my voice being the key and the names of my ancestors, recited in the correct pattern are the function of unlocking. This is why pattern features in my work. As tangata whenua (the people of the land), the land itself, and our tūpuna (ancestors), long passed but an ineffable presence. Together all occupy a liminal, in-between place, where past, present, future coexist – I nga waa o mua. I find myself continually drawn to this Māori concept of time, space and place.

Narrating without a narrative – I tell stories through the abstraction of landscape; land, sea or mountain, cultural or political.

I am currently developing this method to investigate how sound, nature, water can be cultivated as a restorative form of energy.