Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Ki te Ngāhere: Conversations about time, material & memory 

Panel discussions & performance

1.00pm 23 March 2024

A forest consists of many timescales. Through a constant process of renewal and decay, the ecosystem becomes a record of time passing. Similarly, human memory folds together new and old. Every moment that something is remembered material traces are reshaped and reconstructed. In this afternoon of conversation and performance, writers, researchers, and creative practitioners ask what is at stake when we look back in order to move forward. 

1.00pm – 2.00pm
Hana Pera Aoake, Taarn Scott and Raewyn Martyn in conversation with Su Ballard
Lower Chartwell Gallery
Tracing an ongoing thread begun in a previous exhibition — Listening Stones Jumping Rocks (2021) — this conversation considers the way narratives and materials are interchangeable containers of ecological memory. In Invasive Weeds Taarn Scott has rendered Hana Pera Aoake’s poetry material. In Greywacke love poems: returns Raewyn Martyn explored how mutable material can dislodge skewed histories. In this conversation with exhibition curator Su Ballard, Aoake, Scott and Martyn bring their practices together to reflect on the transformational potential of material as stories and stories as material. Together we imagine new old ways to create survivable futures.

2.15pm – 2.45pm
Barbara Francis and Mike Ross in conversation with Sophie Thorn
Lower Chartwell Gallery
This conversation touches on the journey of a tangata tīriti researcher writing about a shared settler-Māori history. In writing an account of her ancestor in the recently published book Titus Angus White and the Māori Captives on Waitematā Harbour 1863/4, Barbara Francis worked with Dr Mike Ross (Ngāti Hauā) as her kaiarāhi. Francis wrote the book with the blessing of the Kingitanga, after a chance meeting with Brad Totorewa, then Te Toki a te Kiingi, Speaker for the King, who advised her to, ‘write the story for pākehā’. In this discussion facilitated by curator and director Sophie Thorn, Francis and Ross traverse such questions as: Whose history is it to tell?; How might pākehā revisit shared history without continuing to dominate the narrative?; And, where does the onus of legacy fall?

Ngā Paki Rākau
Performance by Mark Harvey
Congreve Foyer
In this playful participatory performance, artist Mark Harvey invites audience members to join him in a gesture of healing he Tōtara. Spectators will have the opportunity to engage in a fun way, thinking about notions of well-being, te taiao, ngāhere and tree hugging. Ngā Paki Rākau is the most recent development of a work originally performed by Harvey at Performance Space in Sydney in 2017 and at COCA in Otautahi in 2017.

Hana Pera Aoake (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Hinerangi, Tainui/Waikato, Tauranga Moana, Ngāti Waewae) is an artist and writer based in Kawerau in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. They co-organises Kei te pai press with Morgan Godfery, has written a book A bathful of kawakawa and hot water (Compound Press, 2020) and is the museum curator at the Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum. Pera Aoake mostly makes collaborative art works with Taarn Scott, but is working slowly on a couple of films and embroideries about the complexities of industry on whenua that was confiscated after the 1860s. Most of Pera Aoake’s time is spent managing the many social engagements of their toddler, Miriama Jean, who thinks trucks and dogs are really ka pai. Pera Aoake is the recipient of the 2024 curatorial residency with Delfina Foundation and Metroland Cultures in London - an international exchange centred on community practice.

Barbara Francis is a researcher and author based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. After teaching in Wellington, including a stint as a Museum Education Officer at the Dominion Museum, and teaching in Christchurch 1980 -2005, Francis retired to Wellington. In 2007 a chance remark about an old friend led her into a new ‘career’ of research culminating in her first book published by Victoria University Press in 2017 You Do Not Travel in China at the Full Moon. In November 2023 Barbara’s second book Titus Angus White & the Māori Captives on Waitematā Harbour 1863/4 was published by Atuanui Press, with a copy presented to Kīng Tūheitia, on the 160th commemoration of the battle for Rangiriri, a significant event in the British invasion of the Waikato where 182 defenders were captured and imprisoned on a coal hulk for ten months with Francis’s second great grandfather as their Superintendent.

Mark Harvey (Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga iwi, Clan Keith) is an artist and researcher focusing on social, performance and video-based approaches, including ecology, mātauranga Māori and politics. He has presented in a range of contexts such as the Venice Biennale, ANTI Festival (Finland), Performance Space (Sydney), Artspace Aotearoa, Letting Space, Live Art for Bjorn festival (Denmark), The Physics room, Te Tuhi, Te Uru and Enjoy. He has curated in a wide range of galleries and festivals including New Performance Turku (Finland), Ramp Gallery, Te Uru and PAWA. He has also published writing widely in art, performance and ecology, has a PhD form AUT and is a Senior Lecturer in CAI, The University of Auckland. Harvey is also a lead researcher of Toi Taiao Whakatairanga a cross-disciplinary research project, bringing together arts, science and te āo Māori to raise awareness of threats to the health of our ngāhere, including kauri dieback.

Raewyn Martyn is Pākehā (Scottish, Irish & English), and was born in Ōamaru. She is an artist and teacher, currently working as a lecturer of painting at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Her exhibition practice involves gallery and site-based work made in Aotearoa and internationally. She likes to think about the histories and futures of the places and sites where painting happens, and also how paintings can change through time. As part of Listening Stone Jumping Rocks (2021), her work Greywacke love poems: returns (2019-2021) involved materials like bacterial polyester, a biopolymer that has capacity for ‘shape memory’ and reconfigures to past forms when triggered by heat.

Dr Mike Ross (Ngāti Hauā) is Head of School at Te Kawa a Māui, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests include whānau and hapū development, iwi governance, Māori history, language and customs. In 2021 he was jointly awarded the 'Booksellers' Choice Award' at the Aotearoa Book Industry Awards with his co-authors for the BWB publication Imagining Decolonisation.

Taarn Scott is an artist from Ōtepoti, based in Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand. Their practice is multidisciplinary, exploring ceramic sculpture, the environment and ornamentation. They are currently researching ngaro huruhuru, honey bees and making hanging candles. Recent exhibitions include Pieces Spaces Species at the Blue Oyster Art Project Space and Ngā hau o Tāwhirimātea, a collaboration with Hana Pera Aoake at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space in 2023. They collaborated on a series of exhibitions with Aoake and Wesley John Fourie in 2022, exhibiting Invasive Weeds with The Physics Room, The Future of Dirt with RM Gallery and An Endless Sky of Honey with Meanwhile Project Space.

Susan Skerman, Bush Panels, 1981, 16 screenprinted perspex panels, Ngā Puhipuhi o Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University Art Collection, formerly the Wellington College of Education Art Collection, accessioned 2009. Installation view, Folded Memory, Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, 2023. Photo: Ted Whitaker.