Installation for Sculpture on the Peninsula 2017
This recent work is informed by the landscape of Banks Peninsula and Onawe. My work explores narratives of the past. It is my intention to revive stories of old and to acknowledge the significance of this history. Onawe is a place extremely sacred - Tapu to Maori.
An Atua ‘Te Pa Nui O Hau’ The Goddess of the Wind once dwelt on Onawe’s summit. Onawe was a sacred home to her and she spoke to the spirit world and to those who heard the supernatural. Musket fire silenced Te Pa Nui O Hau as she was unaccustomed to such loud noise and intrusion.
As a symbol of the past I have chosen to work with the fan. Popular during the colonial era the fan was often used by women as a fashion accessory. Whale bone was a common material used in shaping clothing and decoratively. Sailors would use whale bone or tooth to draw into creating scrimshaw as keepsakes. Japanese aesthetic also influences my art. I have studied the masterpiece ‘The Long Landscape Scroll’ by Sesshu 1486. Compositional principles exercised in the layout of the scroll and of the traditional fan influence my work. I see the fan as a metaphor for wind, drawing a link to the Maori goddess of wind and as a symbol of Colonialism. These works pay homage to the spirit of Te Pa Nui o Hau and her scared peninsula home Onawe.
My work Onawe Landscape Scroll depicts events where in 1832 a fleet of waka approach the Pa at Onawe. The invasion of Te Rauparaha and his warriors at Onawe with the introduction of musket fire silenced the Goddess of the Wind and decimated Ngai Tahu of Banks Peninsula. In 1830 Captain Stewart had sailed into Akaroa harbour concealing a war party for Te Rauparaha on board the Elizabeth, this cunning lead to the destruction of Takapuneke. Onawe was built as a refuge after this attack.
This piece is made in respect and commemoration.