Exhibition

He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land

17 September 2016 – 18 February 2018

Canterbury modernist landscape painting from the collections of Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery, poignantly revised from within a Kāi Tahu perspective

The exhibition questions what meaning is present within these well-known and much-loved works of the 1930s and 1940s for tangata whenua – the people of the land.

Te Puna o Waiwhetū is honoured to be able to present the works with commentary from a Kāi Tahu perspective generously provided by Ta Tipene Gerald O'Regan, Kaumatua o Ngāi Tahu, Upoko Rūnaka Awarua and Adjunct Professor Ngai Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury.

Related

Collection
Hill Triptych
Quentin MacFarlane Hill Triptych

'On the peninsula there used to be a lot of standing bush – we’ve got the evidence of it lying on the ground now [the hills on the peninsula are scattered with old tōtara tree stumps] – but whether its disappearance was caused by human agency or natural agency is a scholarly argument. Michael Trotter, who was an archaeologist at Canterbury Museum, pointed out to me many years ago that moa 
bones in the swamps were generally dated centuries before any human occupation in Aotearoa. And if they were driven into swamps and died there, it was probably as a result of naturally lit fires from lightning and the dry nor’wester.' —Sir Tipene O’Regan

(He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land, 17 September 2016 – 18 February 2017)

Collection
Nor’west
Juliet Peter Nor’west

According to Kāi Tahu, within the story of the creation of Te Waipounamu (the South Island), Aoraki was an atua, or demi-god, who left the home of his father, Raki, in the heavens and voyaged with his brothers to visit Raki’s first wife Poharora o Te Po. They set out to return to his father, but there was a fault in the karakia (prayer) for their return. Aoraki’s canoe – Te Waka o Aoraki – was stranded, and Aoraki and his brothers turned to stone, becoming the mountains of Kā Tiritiri o Te Moana, the Southern Alps.

'This work is interesting because it offers an unusual perspective on Aoraki [Mount Cook] – but Aoraki is full of different perspectives in Kāi Tahu culture. The mountain is, above all, a symbol of our tribal and regional identity. That’s got nothing much to do with its location – although that obviously commands cultural attention – but mainly because of its centrality in the Te Waipounamu creation story. And it is a distinctive creation story, part of a creation myth which has survived here in the remote outskirts of Polynesia while it has been lost at the centre where it came from. Aoraki made us distinctive, and it makes all people distinctive that live under its span. Juliet Peter’s depiction of it is unusual, but every way you look at Aoraki you’ve got a different perspective.' —Sir Tipene O’Regan

(He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land, 17 September 2016 – 18 February 2017)

Collection
Bridge, Mt Cook Road
Rata Lovell-Smith Bridge, Mt Cook Road

'This is the Mount Cook Road, and there are many bridges on that road. The people of Ngāi Tūāhuriri would go inland into the McKenzie [just below where this location is painted] for hunting high country weka [native woodhen] with dogs. They'd carry their empty packs of pōhā [kelp bags to hold preserved birds] with them to the hunting area, catch the weka and process the birds up there. They’d carry the pōhā out, and meet people coming from the south also going up to those high country plains. It was a summer exercise. Towards the end of summer the birds are fat. You preserve them like tītī [muttonbirds] in their own fat.' —Sir Tipene O’Regan

(He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land, 17 September 2016 – 18 February 2017)

Collection
Evening
Colin S. Lovell-Smith Evening

'Well, this is Haumuri Point south of Kaikōura. Pākehā called it Amuri – you’ve got Amuri Motors, Amuri buildings, Amuri district or whatever. It is called Haumuri, and it was always explained to me that the name was given because the wind there is always behind you.

'In the Te Waipounamu creation story, Tu-Te-Raki-Whanoa had two assistant atua [demi-gods], Marokura and Kahukura. We could say that Kahukura was in charge of all parks and reserves, and Marokura was in charge of 
the Ministry of Fisheries. The whole coast is inhabited by the work of those atua. The land is clothed and beautified by Kahukura. Marokura goes off to make his own peninsula at Kaikōura. He was a fishing atua – he wasn’t much of a civil engineer – so it’s only a small peninsula. He puts the great riches of the sea into the coast, which was his skill. The coast is called Te Tai o Marokura; some people call it Te Koha o Marokura.' —Sir Tipene O’Regan

(He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land, 17 September 2016 – 18 February 2017)

Notes
Across the plains by Viola Macmillan Brown Notariello

Across the plains by Viola Macmillan Brown Notariello

This article first appeared as 'Her own voice' in The Press on 23 November 2012.

Notes
CASS

CASS

This week 77 years ago Rita Angus visited Cass on a sketching holiday with Louise Henderson and Julia Scarvell that resulted in several paintings including the Christchurch Art Gallery's Cass.

Notes
Otira: It's a state of mind

Otira: It's a state of mind

It's always a good day when new artworks arrive at the gallery to enter the permanent collection and so it was when Grace Butler's large oil painting In the Otira Gorge turned up. It has been very generously bequeathed to the Gallery by her daughter, Grace Adams who recently passed away.

Notes
Summertime, Arthurs Pass

Summertime, Arthurs Pass

I recently found myself walking through a scene straight out of Grace Butler's 1946 oil painting.

Notes
Wainui, Akaroa by Rita Angus

Wainui, Akaroa by Rita Angus

This article first appeared as 'On view' in The Press on 15 June 2012.

Notes
Leo Bensemann's centenary

Leo Bensemann's centenary

Today is the centenary of the birth of Canterbury artist Leo Bensemann and Peter Simpson, Leo's biographer, has contributed an insightful article on the Christchurch Art Gallery's collection of Leo Bensmann's work which you can read here

Notes
A working holiday to Cass

A working holiday to Cass

Louise Henderson (1902-1994), whose birthday it is today, spent ten days at Cass with fellow artists Rita Angus and Julia Scarvell in May 1936.

Commentary
Bringing the Soul

Bringing the Soul

As an eleven-year-old boy from Whāngarei, sent to live in Yaldhurst with my aunt in the late seventies, Christchurch was a culture shock. Arriving in New Zealand’s quintessential ‘English city’, I remember well the wide landscapes and manicured colonial built environment. It was very pretty but also very monocultural, with no physical evidence of current or former Māori occupation or cultural presence, or at least none that I could appreciate at that time.

Exhibition
Your Hotel Brain

Your Hotel Brain

Energies and anxieties from the threshold of the new millennium.

Exhibition
Aberhart Starts Here

Aberhart Starts Here

Iconic and unseen early photographs of Christchurch by Laurence Aberhart

Exhibition
The Devil’s Blind Spot: Recent Strategies in New Zealand Photography

The Devil’s Blind Spot: Recent Strategies in New Zealand Photography

Recent photography by an emerging generation of New Zealand artists.

Exhibition
He Waka Eke Noa

He Waka Eke Noa

Colonial-era portraits represent a legacy that illuminates the present.

Exhibition
Olivia Spencer Bower: Views from the Mainland

Olivia Spencer Bower: Views from the Mainland

A selection of watercolours by one of Canterbury’s most treasured artists.

Exhibition
Ship Songs

Ship Songs

A small but poetic exhibition looking at early European and Māori representations of seafaring vessels, with the Charlotte Jane as a focal point.

Exhibition
Kōwhaiwhai

Kōwhaiwhai

Five significant works of art that look to traditional Māori architecture to inform modernist and contemporary Māori art practice.

Artist Profile
Doris Lusk: An Inventive Eye

Doris Lusk: An Inventive Eye

In the strange, stunned afterlife that ticked slowly by in the first few years following Christchurch’s February 2011 earthquake, a curious note of recognition sounded through the shock and loss. As a massive programme of demolitions relentlessly hollowed out the city, many buildings were incompletely removed and lingered on for months as melancholy remains – stumps abandoned in a forlorn urban forest. Hideous, sculptural, beautiful; they bore compelling resemblance to a body of paintings created in the city more than three decades earlier.

Exhibition
Max Hailstone: Te Ara Takahaka Tapuae / Points of Reference

Max Hailstone: Te Ara Takahaka Tapuae / Points of Reference

An exhibition of Max Hailstone's most controversial and important series, using the signatures of the rangatira (Māori chiefs) who signed New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi in 1840

Exhibition
Te Rua o te Moko

Te Rua o te Moko

Each of the eighteen rūnanga within Ngāi Tahu are represented here by a work of art depicting a significant land site.

Exhibition
Kā Honoka

Kā Honoka

Cross-cultural encounter in the Pacific shows whaling as central to the local story.