Tauwehe: a photographic exploration of dislocation and displacement themes in Maori oral histories of te hononga (land kinship)
Aue, Marsha, it’s awful…look what they’ve done to the whenua, aue, aue. I heard inflections of despair, sadness and regret in my Mother’s voice as she saw the new coastal residential development cutting into what was once our tupunas’ whenua. Taking in its mutilated topography scraped of all vegetation and its ‘Bare Land for Sale’ sign, my Mother felt she and Māori culture were under assault. The Tauwehe project originates with the cry of my Mother and is in response to it. Tauwehe considers the oral histories of Te Tii Waitangi kaitiaki and how the loss of whenua and dislocation and displacement from traditional cultural resources continue to affect cultural living practices. It explores the possibility that these instances of cultural dislocation and displacement may be rendered visually perceptible through abstracted photography to weave new stories of and for Te Tii Waitangi.