These works acknowledge the close relationship between indigenous peoples and the environment, through my lens as a Māori māmā. Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au.
Covid-19 this year allowed me the time to reconnect with my environment. I began to think of the woven experiences I share with all the māmā who came before me, right back to Papatūānuku. How our constant nurturing for others is often undervalued, and how we often struggle with that mamae by ourselves. I felt the relief of Pāpātūānuku being able to breathe again when we were in all lockdown. We once again tread lightly on her when we no longer drove our cars. Her children flourished once she had the energy to give to them again. I thought of the first woman Hine-ahu-one, being formed lovingly from her whenua, how she did the first karanga giving birth to Hinetītama. I thought of how Hine-nui-te-pō with all her mamae, still first thought of a way to continue to care for her children. I thought of Rongomaiwahine leading her people and being a safe haven for her grandson Rakaipaaka when he was in trouble. I thought of my nanny being caned as a child for speaking her language but continuing to do so at home. I thought of nans loaded fruit trees, marae fundraising and everyones stories of how she cared for them. I thought of my mum and her traumas but how she has continued to care for us kids and so many others. I thought of how all these wāhine make me who I am. How that things that impacted them, impact me today. And this is a dedication to all of us.
SHOWING SOON: Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change (SMRSC) hybrid conference on 11-14 November 2020. Hosted online and on location at Rutherford House, 33 Bunny Street, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).