Fiona Pardington

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1961
Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Kahungunu, Māori, Clan Cameron, Scottish

D63.30 Whakai-o-tama, Temuka, Tuaki, Rapaki, Mactra ovata Grey, 1843

  • 2004
  • Photograph
  • Purchased 2007
  • 850 x 965 x 40mm
  • 2007/035

Fiona Pardington’s photographs of taonga from museums in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally invite us to consider how the act of collection exists within the context of colonisation. Here, her focus is a small shell collected from Rāpaki in Horomaka Banks Peninsula, now held in the Herries-Beattie collection of Otago Museum. The large-scale, closely cropped image calls attention to the shell’s double cataloguing; first with the museum’s accession number, but also with its Māori name in the softer hand of a kuia (female elder) from Rāpaki. Fiona’s title adds the Latin genus, and identity and date of its first observation by a European here. These overlapping categorisations speak to the complex, interconnected histories of this whenua.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History