Presented by: Tauranga Art Gallery
In conjunction with the Tuia encounters 250 and commemorating the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pa, Te Rangi Haupapa – a woven history approaches concepts around colonisation and the aftermath of the land wars in the Bay of Plenty, specifically through a Te Āo Māori lens.
Two contrasting spaces aligned with the gender elements of Māoridom, offer insight into Aotearoa New Zealand’s tumultuous past and the intergenerational healing that continues to be explored by many of our contemporary artists today. Artists featured include Tawhai Rickard, James Ormsby, Nikau Hindrin, Greg Semu and Sarah Hudson.
In partnership with The Elms and the Tauranga Heritage Collection, on display for the first time, are archaeological findings from around the Bay of Plenty – tāonga and everyday items that depict an intricate artistic practice, and a very conscious way of living, deeply ingrained in spiritual practices.
The concept of duality is woven within Aotearoa New Zealand history, as two cultures at odds living as one inevitably would be in opposition. However, prior to colonisation, the concept was deeply ingrained in Māori civilisation, and ways of being – duality not being at odds, but rather – complementary, harmonising, balancing each other.
Whakapapa, the intricate genealogical understanding of Māori connection, is a deeply spiritual practice that aligned human lineage with the spiritual realm of the deities. Through this, it is apparent that the duality of the male and female element significantly affected all practices and roles within Māori society.
Alongside these significant findings from around the Bay of Plenty, are works by contemporary artists who not only delve into these notions themselves, but whose practices aim to revitalise and showcase traditional practices. The weaving practices of Māori, particularly tukutuku are well known as intricate pattern work with spiritual symbolism woven throughout. Inspired by this practice tikanga Māori and thousands of years of heritage reframe the relatively recent arrival of Western colonisation and the interlaced web of encounters, interactions and assimilation.