This exhibition ran from 27th October to 15th December, 2022
'Light worker' was an immersive experience of past, present and future aspirations and mahi toi conjured up over the past couple years. Experimenting with light, colour, movement and DNA sound in dark spaces. Pyramid Club was occupied by video, audio and lightbox works by Jamie Berry and 7558 collective.
Tiwhatiwha te pō, ko te Pakerewhā, ko Arikirangi tēnei rā te haere nei. Dark, dark is the night. There is the Pakerewhā. There is Arikirangi to come. – Toiroa, Ngāti Maru tohunga, 1766
The work by 7558 Collective begins with the 1766 prophecy of Toiroa, a Ngāti Maru tohunga who foresaw a period of darkness descending. The title AA-06101769 refers to the date three years later when HMS ENDEAVOUR entered the waters of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa – 6 October 1769.
Two days later on 8 October rangatira Te Maro and three Ngāti Rakai kin went forward to evaluate the intentions of four young ENDEAVOUR crewmen who were guarding a small boat on shore while Captain James Cook and others were looking around and gathering specimens. Carrying tao, the group advanced towards the sailors who upon seeing them rowed towards the river mouth, firing gunshots overhead. When the rangatira Te Maro looked set to throw his tao, the coxswain fired again, this time shooting him through the heart.
On 9 October, Rongowhakaata rangatira Te Rākau was shot and killed by ENDEAVOUR’s botanist Joseph Banks and surgeon William Monkhouse when he took a sword from Charles Green, the ship’s astronomer. The following day, 10 October, two fishing waka came under attack from Cook’s crew who shot four people dead and took three boys hostage.
For the Rongowhakaata iwi, the experience that took place on the shores of Turanga equates to trespass, murder, kidnapping, theft, and terrorism. To mark the 250 years of colonisation and oppression that followed these dark days, in AA-06101769 the names of Te Maro and Te Rākau are interspersed with crosses, which fall down the screen like tears.
Sound, long understood for its power to affect and influence people, also plays an important role in the artwork. The mournful notes of pūtōrino and kōauau reflect the trauma endured by Rongowhakaata. The three performers who feature in AA-06101769 portray the events that took place and look to a time when a future leader (Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki) is born fulfilling Toiroa’s prophecy in entirety.
Ahi Kā Ahi Kā: I noho koniahi! Ki ngā taringa i kite!
Ahi kā is a stunning audio-visual art installation created collaboratively by mana whenua and Pōneke based creatives and cultural practitioners. The work is inspired by a kōrero shared by Taranaki leader Kura Moeahu reimagining the past when te reo Māori was the only language spoken in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, a language that articulated our richly woven understanding and connectedness to the land, the environment, to each other, to our ancestors and descendants.
Curated by Kura Puke, Stuart Foster, Mere Boynton and Pekaira Rei with digital production by Mike Bridgman. Invited creatives include Jamie Berry, Shannon Te Ao, and Warren Maxwell who have collaborated with mana whenua to contribute visuals or aural alongside Inahaa Te Urutahi Waikerepuru, Pekaira Rei, Kura Moeahu, Noel Rawiri Wood, Kura Puke, Mere Boynton and Taarewa-i-te-rangi, Kurt Komene and Ngā Uki o te Mounga.
Jamie Berry (Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) is a multidisciplinary artist who creates multimedia artwork that explore Aotearoa histories while reflecting on identity and whakapapa. Originally from Tūranganui-a-kiwa and based in Pōneke, Jamie draws inspiration from both locations. Her work uses her connections between past, present, and future forward creating narratives through her DNA-based soundscape, moving image, and installation works.