(Image: Turangawaewae - Poroti Springs)
I received email correspondence this week with the title Kia ora Ms Moon, I've obviously signed up as Fog & Moon to this organisation, but to me it signalled something more. A surname is whakapapa or genealogy a map to understand where you belong. This is a quick run down of where we are at in our transitional journey.
In 2015 I started thinking about ways I could help our growing environmental issues by creating artwork and designing a future I wanted to be a part of, at first it was an excercise to bring myself hope. When you feel powerless the best way to combat that feeling is to build solutions to problems that make you feel fear. Positive by nature was born a pathway to create a community base around the idea of Papa Kainga or Turangawaewae a self sufficient and self sustaining home base. The most powerful form of inspiration in my life have always been women, the idea was to create beneficial interconnected living communities based on ancestral ways of living but utilising the technology of today.
(Landcare Research with Katarina Tawiri, Faith Kane & Angela Kilford.)
In 2017 the idea was further developed to look at ways to create financial sustainability Fog & Moon Studio evolved as a way to document the journey. My art practice and research led to my Great Grandmothers rongoa recipes I was drawn to Harakeke, NZ native flax plant, following this line of enquiry led me to Linen and the annual European flax plant, natural materials and textiles, a deeper dive into the industry of fashion and the unsustainable practices that have created some of the greatest environmental issues of our time. I was happy to be invited to collaborate with Massey University and this part of the journey meet some of the most passionate people I know when it comes to environmental and systems change. The development of a truly sustainable, ecologically manageable and localised plant fibre textile and material; that is beneficial for people and the environment would be an ultimate goal. Inspired by this work I drew up a design for Native Forest Integration.
In 2018 I shared this design with MP Marama Davidson when I had an opportunity to meet with her, another mana wahine who I find really inspiring. In 2019 we were lucky to have one of our grandmother council invited to meet with the Commonwealth in the UK regarding regenerative projects that are happening throughout the globe and we became connected with Common Earth Initiative. Late 2019 inspired by the WWF/ 9Wire initiative to put forward ideas for environmental solutions, I gathered together everything I had researched and learned along the way, from the wonderful people who I had met and the areas of interested that had sparked a light of hope within me. I submitted a sketched outline for a vague platform design, which did not go through to the next stage. I rounded out the design and approached the biggest agricultural tech company in NZ, to see if my design could become a possible thing. They encouraged me to continue to develop the idea as it was 'full of heart' and told me where I could find a key startup and innovation group. Thanks to crowd funding, by the beginning of 2020 I was signed to develop Region Net Positive with Self Starters Academy, then as we know the world completely changed with COVID19.
A month into level 4 lockdown and I was driven even more than before to bring this concept design to fruition. Flavio our tech advisor and mentor helped me to develop the white paper and Region Net Positive was in its earliest stage by June.
Now we are in the process of creating the wireframe and building networks by making contact with growers and environmental groups. This has been a huge learning curve, but we have had really positive communications, some are already working on open source peer to peer networks to help move towards regenerative agriculture quicker and are willing to collaborate with us, collaboration is happening on many levels and it is really great to see.
On a personal level it feels really good to work in collaboration with people who are working towards positive environmental outcomes. I was asked to join the Better Futures Forum by Catherine Knight and Mike Joy as Kaitiaki and share my environmental thoughts with the group and their platform. As Kaitiaki I get to put all the research and reading from the last years into action, imagining, thinking and designing best case scenarios to create positive pathways for future possibilities. This brings me to A Growing Culture one of the founders met with my Mum in the UK at the Commonwealth regenerative meeting, they instantly hit it off and Loren was instantly (unofficially) adopted into our family. Some time in the coming months they will open up their platform so that our WEGC grandmother council can share their story with us all. I have opened up a Fog & Moon Studio facebook platform as I will be sharing the live broadcast from A Growing Culture's facebook & youtube.
At the beginning of level 4 lockdown period I made a short film 'Come for a Walk' with my mum saying a karakia, sending comfort across the ocean to our family and friends.
As an artist during this time I have leaned heavily on the concepts of my ancestors to help gain a sense of understanding and to 'see' a way forward when everything is so unknown.
I spoke about this with Moya Lawson from Wellington City Gallery and fellow artist Martin Langdon during Matariki, thanks to CIRCUIT Artist Film & Video Aotearoa NZ. If you are interested you can listen to the podcast here.
(Kohatu Tipua - Sky Kings at Te Manawa library creative space. 2x projectors & lightbox, funded by Creative NZ)
The research has continued to evolve, environmental concerns outlined here by the Soil and Health Association, and with studies showing the effect of climate change on food and human viral illnesses spreading into the cells of our food. I want to highlight our right for access to healthy nutrient dense food. Biodiverse landscapes create biodiverse soils and soil biology, that grow nutrient dense crops, when eaten this food generates healthy biomes in our bodies. This on its own will not combat the type of virus that has created a global pandemic. However now that we know of the benefits to our bodies, achieved through nutrient dense food, it can only create greater beneficial outcomes for the environment and our own wellbeing. If you are interested in reading more about this Region Net Positive has a landing page to sign in and we will send out a copy of the white paper.
It is my personal goal to work with the land, growing beneficial nutrient dense food and fibre in tune with my ancestors and the land. I want to thank all those who I have met along the way, who have supported the research, purchased artwork or Fog & Moon linen pieces, your support and belief in this work means so much - it may be a slow movement but the journey and the story continues!
Nga mihi nui,
Tanya (Ms Moon)