Click on the photos to see full version and the line from the pūrākau.
He mana whenua, he mana wahine.
13 hapū Māori māmā were photographed in landscapes where they look almost as one with eachother yet still being independent resembling both as important. Each photo was accompanied with a line from the purakau (legend) of Papatūānuku. I hope to celebrate the closeness of Māori and our land, and more specifically the connection between wahine hapū and our earth mother; as the world was born from Papatūānuku, so humankind is born from women. I encourage viewers to really think about how you treat such beauty, how without these two taonga we would not exist so we MUST take care of them.
While working at Victim Support I saw how over represented we were in stats for victims of crime and trauma. Over 50% of crime is experienced by 6% of the population, and Māori are more likely to be victims than other New Zealanders. Also Māori victims tend to take up most of the small number of people who are victimised repeatedly. It was horrifying to find the domestic violence rates among Māori and rates of death due to intimate partner violence among Māori. In 2017 Māori were more than twice as likely be a victim of intimate partner violence than other ethnic groups in New Zealand and also twice as likely to experience one or more coercive and controlling behaviours. Māori women were 29% of those using refuge services although they were just over 15% of the population.
Why is this happening? How can we help the victims? How can we help the offenders with prevention? Being silent is not an option, we must talk and we must improve.
The series was created to raise awareness, provoke discussion and invite questioning of what can we can do better to maintain this beauty.
Te Whare Rokiroki (Wellington) Maori Womens Welfare ,Kokiri Marae (Hutt Valley) Maori Womens Refuge and Te Roopu Whakaruruhau (Manawatu) Maori Womens Refuge and Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre were gifted photos from the exhibition to thank them for the mahi they quietly do within our communities. Creative NZ, Kono and Queensberry NZ and Amba Holly Music were the sponsors and Expressions Art Gallery exhibited the series over Matariki. Check out the opening night video with wahine toa Amba Holly singing.