Mark Adams

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1949

Nathan Pōhio

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1970
Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāti Wheke, Ngāi Tahu, Māori

Maerewhenua Site. Waitaki River Valley, North Otago. Pora. 2016

  • 2016
  • Archival inkjet prints from digital scans from film
  • Gift of the artist, 2019
  • 810 x 1030mm
  • 2019/007
  • View on google maps

There are 761 recorded Māori rock art sites in Te Waipounamu. In making these works, Ōtautahi Christchurch photographer Mark Adams visited the Maerewhenua and Takiroa sites in North Otago, with the support of his friend, artist Nathan Pōhio, who has whakapapa (ancestral connections) to this area. Within these deep limestone rock shelters are numerous drawings made from ngārehu (charcoal) and kōkōwai (red ochre), that are understood to predate European contact. At Maerewhenua, as seen in this diptych, one drawing shows the tall masts of European-style ships, a powerful marker of an early overlapping between two very different cultures. Maerewhenua and Takiroa come under the kaitiakitanga (guardianship/protection) of Te Rūnanga o Moeraki. Both sites are publicly accessible and follow the ara tawhito (traditional travel routes) Māori used for mahika kai (gathering of food and resources) in this area, including access to Te Tai o Poutini the West Coast.

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