It has been a couple of months working up to getting over to Aotearoa (New Zealand). This trip is my fourth and my previous experiences have prepared me for this moment:
In 2006 I had been invited to speak in Australia for the Society of Wetland Scientists conference. Right over the way was Aotearoa. Prior to pushing off for Aotearoa and Australia a Maori artist group came through at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for Hawaiian Studies during my undergraduate. The lady who was warm and soft was June Grant one of the leading first generation Maori Artists. I told her of my plans in Australia and she invited me to stay with her in Aotearoa.
After the conference I flew to Auckland, caught a bus to Rotorua and met up with June. The next morning she took me around the village and to introduced me one of her relations, Richard Kereopa. At this time he was an undergraduate art student at Wairiki Polytech working on revitalizing the tradtional art of Maori weaving or raranga. Richard was only to host me for the day to visit an art school in Hastings but the days went by and at the end of it we were still together having heaps of fun, exchanging views on being Maori/Maoli (truly from a place), what it means to have whakapapa/mookuauhau (genealogy) and the politics surrounding these ideas.
I returned again in 2007 with a Native Hawaiian art group from the UHM Center for Hawaiian Studies. As a group of 6 we drove from Auckland to Wellington and back over a course of two weeks visiting at least one Maori art school, one Maori artist and an art museum each day. Our assignment during this time was to create one art piece per day relating to our experiences on this journey. The finale to this excursion was the first Maori Arts Market, which Hawaii's Maoli Arts Market is modeled after.
In visiting all various Maori artists and art schools we were able to compare between teaching styles, teaching emphasis and the works students created. Some schools were focused on communicating a story through imagery, others emphasize the experience the viewer has with the piece, others focused on technique and of course there were those who needed to keep the bottom line in the front of their minds. In this experience I learned how tricky and political art can be, and more over how overtly political Maori and Maoli art is. Besides this there was one thing clear: that Maori had created a cognizant support system where the previous generations nurture the upcoming generations to ensure community success, in partciptaing with this trip our Maoli advisor was also cultivating a supportive relationship between Maori and Maoli as well as between generations.
In 2010 my return was for the Te Tihi Indigenous Artists Gathering....now in 2013 it is my first time coming to Aotearoa as an artist and scientist. Both Richard and I are PhD students, he being a tutor at Waiariki Polytechnic and me a visiting artist/academic to the school for the week of June 24, 2013.
This blog is set up to share experiences from Aotearoa and abroad with home and beyond. In reference to previous trips I will be cataloging my food habits and natural resources that are valued.
My goal on this trip is to set up the next three years of my PhD with the University of Otago, fulfill my obligations as a visiting artist/academic at Waiariki Polytechnic and attend the He Manawa Whenua Conference at the University of Waikato in Hamilton.
Ka pai and Kia Ora!
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
|These pools of Makua, O'ahu are visited many for their beautiful beaches. But people still subsist and cultivated resources such as seaweed, crabs, fish and limpets. To enhance a population of anything is to understand life cycles.|
|Ferns and Maples leaves seen |
were gathered in the woods of British Colombia.
They were used to create steam in the pitcook
She began to speak of the forests, which are in temperate weather. It was cold in the middle of summer, I had at least three layers of clothes on. Anyways she spoke of berries and patches she is aware of to gather for pitcooks and other occasions where traditional foods are shared. Cheryl has a relationship with her land and it is her relationship. She taught me that we all need to identify with the land in our own way and be comforted and comfort the land in ways we are comfortable with as well.
Indigenous ecosystems refers to the cultivation of land, sea, plants, life cycles and adaptation to seasonal occurrences. Indigenous ecosystems are the cultivation of relationships with animate and inanimate sentient beings which support life cycles of closely associated individuals and populations.
This term can be applied in rural and urban settings because where ever people go they work with or against the land. Indigenous ecosystems where people continue to subsist from the land, bio-mimicry of seasonal food web relationships are utilized in order to harness maximum sustenance yield. The reintroduction of fire to provide nurturing habitat for camas is one example in British Colombia as well as the opening of lo'i taro patches in Hawai'i. Commercialization and increased access to technology (bulldozers, herbicides, spear guns, bombs) of any resource is highly debated in long term and short term effects.
|Snack created from most local gathered products: dried venison,|
dried marlin, dried opae, dried octupus. Mixed with bought
cashew nuts and wasabi peas. A local alternative to store bought trail mix.
The important part of all this is that we cultivate the homes and lives we live in. The land around us, whether we work it or not, whether we pick up trash that is ours or not, whether we pass lessons we've learned to the next generation or not. As elders have said before "the land is a reflection of us and we are a reflection of the land".
An idea that has been lingering is:
"treat your land like your underground oven"
more on that...