Ngā Whetū

  • 7 July 2023

Ngā Whetū

Penny Howard, Atareta Black, Tony Brown, Aroha Gossage, Lisa Reihana, Kauri Wharewera, Siniva Williams, Ann Uerata and Louie Zalk-Neale
Corban Estate Arts Centre
On until 13 July 2023

In support of Aotearoa’s continued learning behind the meaning and importance of Matariki and Te Tau Hou Māori (the Māori New Year), the Homestead Galleries present a group exhibition of Māori artists; each showcasing works that speak to ngā whetū (the stars), Puanga and the Matariki cluster. Through the group’s distinctive methods of storytelling and their own personal perspectives, Ngā Whetū offers a rich view into the significance of these stars, as they pertain to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, across a wide range of creative disciplines.

To view the exhibition, click here

Waitā, acrylic on board, 925 x 1230mm (framed), 2023

Te Wheke (the Octopus) is my invocation of Waitā, the star in the Matariki cluster which is associated with the ocean and represents food gathered from the sea. This star is also significant for its influence over tides and floodwaters. Te Wheke in my painting has risen to challenge us (ki te wero) with her Kotiate Parāoa (Whalebone weapon). She lives with the fact that human activities including pollution, overfishing, and impacts from climate change are damaging the mauri of our marine environment. For Māori there are added impacts when our marine environment is māuiui (unwell). The disappearance or subsidence of traditional kai moana species can mean the loss of Māori knowledge (mātauranga Māori). Mana moana, which includes the inherent right of iwi to harvest kai moana within their rohe (region), is unable to be exercised, and customary practices of harvesting at specific times of the seasons and maramataka can fall out of use. 

The Kotiate Parāoa (Whalebone weapon) that Te Wheke is wielding, holds its own important teaching as it would have left our shores in the 1800s (most likely stolen) and was on sold again recently by British Auction house Sotheby’s, it is lost to its Whānau physically but at least spiritually, in this work, it has been returned to its sister of the ocean Te wheke, to help send her message of respecting our marine environment and traditional practices that it supports.

View more of Penny's work here




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