Senior tutors at Whitireia and WelTec exhibit Te Ao Māori artworks at Te Auaha to share traditional kōrero

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Senior creative tutors at Whitireia and WelTec, Gareth McGhie and Darren Ward, have collaborated to exhibit carved artworks at the exhibition space at Te Auaha on Dixon Street in Central Wellington.

The exhibition, Ngā waiata o a tātou taonga, has been three years in the making and was due to show earlier in the year but was postponed due to COVID settings.

Gareth’s works examine Te pakanga o ngā manu (The battle of the birds), a Māori legend that described a mighty battle that once took place inside the forest when the sea birds came to steal the fish and eels from forest lakes. Hearing of the fierce invaders, all the land birds gather forces and challenge the invaders. Gareth’s pieces are rendered in wheua (bone), rakau (wood), and niho paraoa (whale teeth) and utilize both traditional and contemporary forms and pattern work. Further information on Te pakanga o ngā manu is below.

Darren Ward's work focuses on taonga puoro (musical instruments) carved in both wheua (bone) and rakau (wood) with references to Tane Mahuta (God of the forest).

Whitireia and WelTec tutor Gareth McGhie at Ngā waiata o a tātou taonga exhibition

“This exhibition is an opportunity to create works that support the continuation of significant Māori narratives in a contemporary sense,” says Gareth. “We invite our audiences to learn and reshare the stories we are describing through the artworks.”

Gareth has taught across the suite of Creative Technologies programmes at Whitireia and WelTec since 2010. His art practice centres on contemporary Māori carving and adornment. The Kaupapa of this work is settled firmly within the concepts of Te Ao Māori and Whakapapa in particular. His work is exhibited regularly both in NZ and internationally.

Darren’s research expertise is in Māori art and design and 3D methodologies and processes. He utilizes his knowledge of engineering to apply hard materials and processes along with emerging technologies into his teaching and creative practice.

Ngā waiata o a tātou taonga runs to 28 November 2022 at Te Auaha Gallery, 65 Dixon Street, Wellington.


Further information:

Gareth McGhie description of Te pākanga o ngā manu (The battle of the birds)

Once upon a time when Aotearoa was young, there was a great battle between the birds of the land and the birds of the sea. As with most wars, this battle was fought over territory, and the right to gather food within this territory. The confrontation was instigated between two Kawau (shags), the river and estuary Kawau and the Kawau moana (the sea shag). After much posturing the Kawau moana convinced his brethren to lay claim to the feeding rights of the land birds and eventually battle was joined. The manu of the land were led in battle primarily by the Piwakawaka (fantail), and the Ruru (owl) along with their forest and mountain kin. The Manu of the sea were led by the Kawau (Shag), the Toroa (albatross) and the Karoro (black backed gull). The battle was long and bloody and Manu from both sides fought with valour but eventually the mana whenua (land birds) were victorious.

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