"Everyone will live quietly" Micah 4.4

  • Michael Parekōwhai Ngāriki Rotoawe, Māori
    Ngāti Whakarongo, Māori
    b.1968
"Everyone will live quietly" Micah 4.4 Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased from the Monica Brewster Bequest with assistance from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand in 1991.

Title

"Everyone will live quietly" Micah 4.4

Details

Production Date 1990
Collection(s) Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased from the Monica Brewster Bequest with assistance from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand in 1991.
Accession Number 91/1
Media Wood and laminates
Measurements 255 x 2200 x 1500mm

About

He toki a Michael Parekōwhai mo tāna raweke i te kupu mā te ingoa me te āhua o hāna mahi. Ka tuhi atu te hanganga o te taonga nei, me tōna ingoa hoki, ki te whiti o te Paipera, arā, ki te rārangi tuawhā o te whiti tuawhā, o te puka a Maika, o te Kawenata Tawhito. I nōhia e te poropiti, e Maika, te whare ariki o Iharaera i te rautau tuawaru, i mua i te matenga o Ihu Karaiti, me tana kite i te tāmi a te iwi Ahiriana. E kī ana ngā rārangi, “Ka ngū te noho ā te katoa i roto i hō rātou kāinga, i te rangimārie me te houkura.” He kupu taurangi ki hāna pononga i riro hō rātou whenua. I whakahēngia e Maika te hunga tāmi i tōna whenua, he poropiti teka, ā, i whakatairangitia te tika o te ahurea ora, kīhei i raweketia e te whakaaro Pākehā.

I hua mai ngā hāhi Māori o te rautau 19 i te Kawenata Tawhito me hōna kōrero mō te noho i te aupēhitanga. Ko te rerekētanga o ngā rangatira Māori ki tā Maika, kīhei rātou i whakapōrearea i te tangata kia kātea te noho, heoi anō he whakahau i ngā tikanga hangarau, i ngā āhua me ngā whakaaro mō ngā take Māori. Ka whiua e Parekōwhai tāna urupare ki tā Maika whakapōrearea; he whakautu ki a MAIKA, ka whā ngā MAIKA, i hangaia ki te whomika.

Michael Parekōwhai is known for his use of puns and layering of meaning via the title and form of his works. The fourfold structure of this work and its title direct you to the Biblical verse Micah 4:4 of the Old Testament. The prophet Micah lived in the kingdom of Israel in the 8th Century BC and witnessed its colonisation by the Assyrians. Verse four line four reads ‘Everyone will live quietly in their own houses in peace and prosperity’. It is a promise of redemption for his followers who have been unjustly dispossessed of their lands. Micah denounced the colonisers of his country as ‘false prophets’ and advocated for the maintenance of a pure culture, unpolluted by colonial ideas.

19th Century Māori religious movements drew on the teachings of the Old Testament and its narratives of struggle against oppression. Unlike Micah, these Māori spiritual leaders did not demand purity, but rather they encouraged the appropriation of technologies, forms and ideas for Māori purposes. In this tradition of innovation, Parekōwhai offers a rebuttal to Micah’s call for purity with a pun; a response for MICAH, becomes four MICAH, made with Formica.

— Text developed for Te Hau Whakatonu: A Series of Never-ending Beginnings (5 August 2023–11 February 2024), curated by Taarati Taiaroa