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kōhatu tipua

sky kings

Title: ‘Kōhatu Tipua: Sky Kings – Gannet Kingdom’

Artist: Tanya Ruka
Media: 3 verse mōteatea (x6) HD video 30sec. Date: June 2020

Film location: Otakamiro Point, Maukatia Bay, Motutara Island, Muriwai.

Lightbox: Digital Artwork Video Still, Funded by Creative New Zealand Māori Arts Fund, gifted to the community of Te Manawa Library 2020.  


Originally an Auckland Public Art Commission this work has been funded by Creative New Zealand, Māori Arts Fund.

In this 3 verse mōteatea film, one screen shows the landscape and seascape of Maukatia Bay and Muriwai while the neighbouring screen shows the digital weaving of the same scene. The digital weaving represents the hidden stories of the past that lie within the landscape or seascape. The 1st verse is the ocean view looking towards and below the gannet colony from Maukatia Bay. The 2nd verse is the land, the native plants that are on the cliff top surrounding the nests and the 3rd verse is the flight of the gannet filmed on Otakamiro Point.

Matariki is a time of renewal, my ancestors would use this time in winter to take stock and plan pathways for the following seasons. Observing the changes in the seasons and natures patterns were key to survival. The migratory patterns of sea birds would often signal key times to travel the long waka journeys between islands and from the Pacific islands to Aotearoa. Gannets make an instinctual journey from Australia to New Zealand, to breed and nest. Generations of gannets have been born on Motutara Island and Otakamiro Point. Once they are old enough to fly, they head back to Australia at the same time every year. They fly across the sky in lines of three and four, wheeling and turning in the sky above their nests and following the same generational patterns as their ancestors. Otakamiro Point, Motutara Island, Maukatia Bay, and Muriwai are some of our sacred spaces and shared histories with the natural world. Muriwai was the location of one of the biggest

Pā sites on the Westcoast, and is the reason why the work is titled Kōhatu Tipua (supernatural stones).

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