He reka te Kūmara

13 November 2021 - 21 March 2022

A kūmara rests in the soft skin of Papatūānuku, mirroring a pēpi in the whare tangata. In warmth and darkness, they are both sprouting roots, leaves and limbs. As we grow, we expand with our surroundings, moving through the pūwaha into new light. 

This exhibition is conceived by Madison Kelly (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe), Mya Morrison Middleton (Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu), Aroha Novak (Ngāi te Rangi, Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu) and Piupiu Maya Turei (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi). Together they are cultivating a portal into the storehouse of Mātauraka Māori. Through pūrakau, waiata and toi, they explore how they can add their own branches to the rākau whai hua.

The curators wish to acknowledge Te Rūnaka o Ōtākou, Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki and Te Rūnaka o Moeraki, and thank Paemanu Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery for their support.

This exhibition is made possible by the DPAG Curatorial Internship, currently held by Piupiu Maya Turei and funded by Creative New Zealand.

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Nāia tētahi kūmara ka noho ki te rua, me he pēpi e moe ana ki te whare takata. Ka tohua e te kūmara te mātotorutaka o te mātauraka Māori i heke noa mai i kā kāwai whakapapa. Nō mai rā anō tō mātou tūhonoka, nā te rere whakateraki o te pounamu, ki te kūmara ko tukuna ki te toka, nā kā kōrero, nā te mahi toi, nā te hākarau hoki.

He pēhea tā mātau tuku mātauraka?

Ka tahuri mātau ki kā mahi toi hai mea whakamāramarama. Ko kā rārāki, kā kano, me kā rauemi o kā mahi toi nō tēnei whakaaturaka e pū mai ai kā kōrero whakapapa mā te wā me te ātea. Ko ia o kā mahi toi nei he whatitoka ki te pitomata mutuka kore o mātauraka, he ao matatini te oraka o wānaka.

Nāia te āki ki a koutou kia ū ki te whēuriuri me te māhanahana o Papatūānuku, rokohina ana te kōmirotanga o te wā, e tuituia ana a Uki ki a Rauraki. Whāia rā kā ara whakatere o kā waiata, o kā haereka me kā kāwai heke. Kia roko mā tō wairua, mā tō tinana, mā tō mauri anō hoki.

He pēhea te reka o te kūmara?

Tīhei mauri ora!

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A kūmara rests in the underground storehouse, mirroring a pēpi asleep in the whare tangata. The kūmara symbolises the fullness of mātauraka Māori across generations. From pounamu flowing northwards, to kūmara sent southwards, we have always been connected through stories, art and technology.

How do we share knowledge?

We look to art as a way of understanding. The lines, colours and material of the artworks in this exhibition speak through time and space about whakapapa. Each artwork is a portal to the limitless potential of mātauraka, a complex world of living knowledge.

We invite you to dwell in the warmth and darkness of Papatūānuku, notice as time spirals weaving past and present into one. Follow the navigational lines of songs, travel and descent. Feel your way through with your wairua, your tinana and your mauri.

How sweet is the kūmara?

Tīhei mauri ora!

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Ko te kupu aumihi tēnei ki kā Mana Whenua o te takiwā nei - Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha me Rapuwai. Ko te oha nui ki kā mana i āwhina i a mātau i tēnei huanui o te whakatū whakaaturaka.

E mārika nui ana mātau i kā rika toi ko takahia te ara whānui ki Raroheka. Nā ā rātau mahi, nō ō rātau oraka, nō ō rātau mauri hoki i whakarāwai mātau i kā mea e mārama ai mātau i āianei, otirā i kā mea ka hura ki a mātau. Ko te whakapapa te taukaea o te whakaaro Māori, ā, e whakamanatia ana ēnei honoka e mātau mā te manaakitaka, mā te aroha anō hoki.

Ko te whakatauākī kei kā kuaha o te whakaaturaka nei he mea tiki atu i tētahi o kā tuhika tahito nā HK Taiaroa. E whakaaturia ana i ruka i te whakaaetaka o te HK Taiaroa Trust, otirā i te mātāpuna o te rika hāpai ō Megan Potiki.

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We wish to acknowledge Mana Whenua of this place - Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha and Rapuwai. We are thankful to all those who have helped us along this journey of exhibition making.

We are grateful to the artists present who have made the journey to Rarohenga. Their work, lives and mauri has enriched us in ways we understand now, and ways which will be revealed to us. Whakapapa is the binding force of Māori worldviews, and we honour these connections with love and care.

The quote on the doors into this exhibition is from a manuscript written on by HK Taiaroa. It is presented with permission from the HK Taiaroa trust and sourced with help from Megan Potiki.

Kā mihi maioha,
Aroha Novak, Madison Kelly, Mya Morrison Middleton and Piupiu Maya Turei

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