How is Ngāpuhi art linked to tribal identity, beliefs and practices?
Tewhata, Iritana Ngaro
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Ngāpuhi knowledge is based on oral traditions passed down to successive generations, allowing for the transmission of information to remain contextualised and localised within Ngāpuhi. This has provided grounds for Ngāpuhi to justify, explain, protect, direct and guide the dissemination of tribal knowledge to their audience. Ngāpuhi were able to modify and adapt according to the changing environments in that customary practices such as tā moko and whakairo maintained fundamental principles of tikanga. The Ngāpuhi proverb ‘Ngāpuhi- kōwhao -rau’ expresses hapū autonomy, with each of the hundred holes or kōwhao of a fishing net representing each hapū and the whole net Ngāpuhi. By casting the net out, the intention of this research is to advance thinking of Ngāpuhi art within the broader context to the research question: How is Ngāpuhi art linked to tribal identity, beliefs and practices. Accordingly this research endeavours to capture the rich and diverse cultural aspects of Ngāpuhi art as articulated by artists’ who identify themselves as Ngāpuhi. This is evident in the artefact/documentary of several Ngāpuhi artists’. This research comprises a written exegesis and a documentary. Each component complements the other. For further research in the form of mini-toanga (documentary) can be requested from AUT Library.