A new commission, Kūreitanga II IV, by Taranaki artist WharehokaSmith (Taranaki, Te Ātiawa, Ngā Ruahine) is reflective of designs used by Māori to decorate wharenui (ceremonial communal houses), clothing, objects and architectural spaces.
Open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Commissioned for the Govett-Brewster’s Todd Energy Learning Centre located at the heart of the building, WharehokaSmith’s work further connects Papatūānuku (the Earth Mother) to Rangi (the Sky Father) using traditional elements of toi Māori (Māori art).
Kūreitanga II IV is a new, site-specific wall painting created by local artist WharehokaSmith (Taranaki/Te Ātiawa/Ngāruahine), commissioned to rest at the heart of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. The large-scale work is located in the Todd Energy Learning Centre which is used for education and public programmes, as well as staff and community meetings. WharehokaSmith was invited to respond to this context and create a work that echoes the building’s unique architecture.
Kūreitanga II IV is an interpretation of Pērā Hoki, an ancient waiata/karakia (song/prayer) which focuses on the significance of water to all life. The connection water creates between earth and sky is mirrored by the building, reaching from the floor to a skylight high above. An important karakia from the Taranaki region, Pērā Hoki was chosen in discussion with local kaumātua Dr Ruakere Hond (Taranaki/Ngāti Ruanui/Te Whānau-a-Apanui). Drawing upon it the artist has created a visual language that refers to both traditional symbols and modern abstraction, freshly interpreting the original text.
Kūreitanga means ‘point’ or ‘end’ (of the nose) and is often likened to the shape of the Taranaki coastline. It refers to the environment, nature, and human relationships with all things past, present and future. The Roman numerals of the title are references to the Indian chakra, specific energy centres of the body that are linked to health and wellbeing, as well as decision making and creativity.
The symbolism in this work has its roots in raranga (weaving), whakairo (carving), tukutuku (woven wall panel) and kōwhaiwhai (painted pattern), elegantly demonstrating the ability of toi Māori (art) to respond to contemporary contexts. All of these forms have evolved and been passed down through generations of Māori communities. WharehokaSmith has, with this work, found and developed a vocabulary drawn from the long history of Māori in this place, seeing toi Māori itself as ‘a finite set of resources with infinite possibilities’.
This commission redresses the absence or misrepresentation of toi Māori that frequently occurs in contemporary New Zealand culture. In working with both traditional symbols and texts, WharehokaSmith brings together important cultural forms that emphasise the concept of whanaungatanga – that no one person, object or concept can exist or prosper alone, that everything is related, and cultures benefit when the total is greater than the sum of its parts.
WharehokaSmith would like to thank the Govett-Brewster staff Morgana James, Sophie O’Brien, Chloe Cull, Sarah Pye, Coral Dolan; and Ngāti Te Whiti Whenua Tōpu Trust for their support in the development and installation of this work.
Please no photography of this artwork
He whakarākeitanga pātū hou a Kūreitanga II IV, nā te uri o te hau kāinga nei nā WharehokaSmith i waihanga, waihoki he mea whakatoka i te manawaora o Govett-Brewster/Len Lye Centre. Kei te takiwā o te kopa o Todd Energy Learning Centre te whakairotanga nei, arā, he kopa whakaako, he kopa whakahuihui anō hoki i ngā kaimahi me te hapori anō hoki. I tonoa a WharehokaSmith ki te whakairo i tōna aronga ki te kopa nei hei whakapāorooro i tōna hanga rongomaiwhiti.
He whakaahuatanga a Kūreitanga II IV o te karakia o Pērā Hoki, arā, he karakia e kōrero ana e pā ana ki te mana o te wai i te ao tūroa nei. Ko ngā hononga i waenga i a Rangi rāua ko Papa e whakaatahia ana i te whare, mai i te papa ki te tāhuhu nui. He karakia whai tikanga nui a Pērā Hoki i te rohe o Taranaki nei, ā, i huaina te karakia nei i roto i ngā whakawhitiwhitinga kōrero ki a Ahorangi Ruakere Hond. Ka tūmatawhānui atu te titiro ā te kaiwhakairoiro ki te whakawhenumi i ngā tohu tawhito me ngā tohu hou, kia piata mai anō tōna wairua i te ao hou nei.
Ko te kūreitanga tētehi kupu whakarite i te tahātai o Taranaki ki te ānau o te mata, arā te ihu me te rae. Ka whakatairanga te ingoa nei i te taiao, i a Papatuānuku, me ngā hononga tangata ki ngā wā ōnamata tae rawa mai ki nāianei. Ka whakatairanga ngā whika Rōmana i ngā iho pūmanawa e hāngai pū ana ki ngā takiwā whakaihiihi ngī o te tinana me te hinengaro hoki.
Ko ngā tohu i tēnei mahi kua whakairohia ki te raranga, te whao, te tukutuku me te kōwhaiwhai, me te aha ko te toi Māori tēnei e whakarauora ana i ngā toi o nāianei. He taonga tuku iho hēnei, ā, kua pāhekoheko ngā toi i te taka o te wā, i roto hoki i ngā tini hapori Māori.
Kua whakawhanake a WharehokaSmith i tētehi pūranga tākupu mai i ngā hitori Māori o te rohe nei i roto i tēnei mahi āna, ā, kua mārama mai ngā rautaki whakatupu i ngā rauemi toi Māori e tupu matomato ai ngā hua.
Ka whakaohooho anō tēnei taonga i ngā toi Māori kua roa nei e ngaro ana, e huna ana i te ahurea o Aotearoa ināianei. Mā te whakapiri i ngā tohu me ngā kupu Māori o mua kua taea e WharehokaSmith te whakamana i te tikanga o te whanaungatanga – arā anō te kōrero, ‘ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, erangi rā he toa takitini’ – he whanaungatanga tō ngā mea katoa, ā, he rahi ake ngā hua whaitake i hōna wāhanga e kitea ana.
E whakamiha ana a WharehokaSmith i ngā kaimahi o Govett-Brewster, i a Morgana James rātou ko Sophie O’Brien, ko Chloe Cull, ko Sarah Pye, ko Coral Dolan; me Ngāti Te Whiti Whenua Tōpu Trust mō tō rātou tautāwhi i te whanaketanga me te hanganga o tēnei mahi.
Nā Te Ingo Ngaia i whakamāori i ngā kōrero / Text translated by Te Ingo Ngaia.
Kei kapo whakaahua o te whakairotanga nei