The Ocean is Calling Me Home: Settler-Indigenous Relationships of Te Moananui a Kiwa

Parr, Emily
Jansen, Dieneke
Robertson, Natalie
Item type
Degree name
Master of Visual Arts
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

'The ocean is calling me home: settler-indigenous relationships of Te Moananui a Kiwa' seeks to understand whose waters I come from, what my waka look like, and how I might come to know my stories. Through looking to specific settler-indigenous relationships I descend from, my moving-image research project considers the macrocosm — the web of relationships we are all a part of — and the microcosm — my own relationships with whakapapa, ancestral stories and homelands. Within a paradigm of relationality, my research is guided by whakapapa and storying methodologies emerging from indigenous worldviews. Whakapapa — the placing in layers — offers a filmic language through which to connect relational fragments, while storying is a framework through which to weave these layers together into living narratives.

Seeking stories in mountains, burial places, archives, museums, and waters, this research journeys to three ancestral homelands: Tauranga Moana in Aotearoa, Upolu in the Sāmoan Islands, and Tongatapu and Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga. Moving-image works traverse seven generations, from Europe to Oceania, through layering video, sound, drawings, and narrative voiceover. Stories unfold across a series of six works, and act as portals to an additional two works. The camera is relational, connecting my ancestors and I through time, as we are tethered by place. Each story links to another, threading loops through space and time, spinning the web of relationships. Against a backdrop of expanding empires, this research untangles questions: How have colonial logics of blood quantum become tools for the dispossession of identity? Who is missing from the archive, and how might I connect more deeply with my ancestors through ritual and ceremony? Whispers, traces, and stories of my tīpuna wāhine coalesce: in gathering and braiding these threads with my own, I honour their lives and strengthen our collective story through moving-image practice. This transformational research project is a haerenga — a journey — of reconnection with whakapapa, with ancestral relationships, and with Te Moananui a Kiwa: the ocean and her islands from which these relationships emerged.

Relationality , Storying , Whakapapa , Haerenga , Archives , Museums , Layering , Colonisation , Ceremony , Early encounters , Land Wars , Empire expansion , Ancestral homelands , Moving-image artwork , Settler-Indigenous relationships , Reconnection , Whatuora
Publisher's version
Rights statement