Home Fires 16 June - 8 July and Ecoart 10 July - 29 July
Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai gave the theme for our celebration of Matariki this year and we gratefully acknowledge their support.
We invited artists affiliated to or associated with the marae to respond to this theme: the many ways, forms and voices they have used reflect the importance of mahinga kai, not only from older times but even moreso now in these contemporary times with its challenges of climate change, social and economic hardship.
Matariki expresses the close relationship between the heavens with its stars and godly presences that have warmed, inspired and heartened peoples from many cultures across millenia, and Papatuanku, mother earth, on whom we rely for sustenance and warmth.
In this exhibition a waka kopapa, a dugout canoe designed for travelling along inland waterways, fishing and gathering kai, is a strong symbol for Mahinga Kai. It is a living reminder of the close relationship that Maori and later settlers had with our coastal strip of landscape. Its forests teeming with bird-life, its good soils and climate, as well as its richly abundant kaimoana, made it a very desirable location.
Kāpiti has always been criss-crossed by many rivers, creeks and streams that run from the mountains to the sea, which supported abundant kai, from crays to eels to watercress. Although many of these waterways are now submerged or piped underground, our care of and acknowledgement of their wairua, their spirit, continues to be a vital responsibility and joy that we have in living here on this coast.
The gourds, kete, capes, fish-hooks, kupenga (nets) and pounders along with the waka kopapa are a reminder of the resourcefulness and ongoing innovation in the ways that Maori have lived so closely with tai ao, the environment, and adapted to its changing weathers, geography and seasons.
Mahinga Kai, the cultivation, gathering and sharing of kai, also reflects the communal and spiritual values embedded in Maori culture. As we develop more closely together as a bicultural nation and community, the celebration of Matariki, Maori New Year is becoming increasingly significant to our wider culture. There are many valuable lessons in self-reliance, resourcefulness, communal support and respect for nature that we can learn and adopt for new ways of living into the future.
Matariki is a time for remembering the past and those we have lost, engaging in learning and renewing our relationships as a community, and looking forward to a season of new cultivations and growth. As the painting by young artist Vianney Parata describes, Grow little Kumara.
We are very grateful for the support of the Waikanae Community Board, Creative Communities, Coast Access Radio, Council’s Green Team and Kāpiti Enviroschools for their support.