Ahi Kā 2022

Wellington City Council


This project reveals the parallel observance of Matariki by Ngāti Toa and Puanga by Te Āti Awa, our two mana whenua tribal authorities of Pōneke Wellington. The narrative reflects the dual observance and celebration with te taiao (nature) the whakapapa (common ancestry) of Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa, through whakataukī (tribal proverbs) and our shared hekenga (journeys) to Pōneke Wellington. Developed in collaboration with mana whenua the work is inspiring, uplifting and educational while informing people of pūrakau (stories) that are connected to the land, people, and Matariki / Puanga.

This large-scale projection work was part of the Wellington City Council's inaugural celebrations of Matariki as the first indigenous, nationally celebrated, public holiday in the world. It signalled the ongoing commitment by the NZ government to embed mātauranga Māori into everyday life and celebrate the positive life affirming values of Matariki for all peoples in this new public holiday.

Our story is inspired from tribal narratives of Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa journey from Taranaki & Kāwhia following the maramataka (lunar calendar), pausing on the journey, to cultivate and harvest crops by the moons, following the migration of ngā manu (birds), across Te Kahui mounga (the network of the mountain lifeforms) bringing them to the Wellington region. The narrative culminates two tribal accounts of Hawaiikitanga (origin source and destination) that our deceased return to the same celestial origin, Te Tikitiki o Rangi. With the guidance of a tribal kaitiaki Kopa (The sacred guardian owl) our story reflects on tribal identity, self-determination, interrelationships, and reunification working together to emulate manaaki moana, manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata katoa (guardianship of oceans, land and all peoples fulfilled within the cycle of te Waiora (the natural cycle of all living things).

Tribal Patterns emphasize the story and illustrations come to life to inform a compelling soundtrack from the earth beneath (rocks, sand and stone) to the skies above (wind, rain, breath) with an engrossing projection that smartly utilizes Te Papa architecture. From an indigenous storytelling approach (Te Kupenga: concept Stratos, resource formulation, narrative consolidation) the accompanying narrative voice over written and performed by Toa Waaka (Ngāti Toa & Te Āti Awa) infuses the work with a guiding warmth that connects and educates people throughout including a (prophetic) tribal version story of Tāwhirimātea (guardian force of the winds & storms) and its’ connection to Matariki with a reminder to always be aware in Winter, the eyes of Tāwhirimātea are upon us, and we must be prepared for the stormy season - Te wero a Tāwhirimātea.

Enjoyed over four days on the Wellington waterfront the work was seen by over twenty thousand people and was combined with the annual sky show fireworks that made up a wider series of artistic projections and installations celebrating Matariki.

Creative Directors
David Hakaraia, Rob Appierdo

Design Director
Baly Gaudin

Team Members
Amanda Walker (producer), Moretekorohunga Lloyd (animation), Brett Johannsen (animation), Matt Lambourn (sound design/mix), Rawiri Baraball (illustration), Tom Trengrove (illustration), Toa Waaka (Iwi liaison/narrative/VO)

Hari Fyfe Townsend, Ayaluna El Bacha, Kimi Moana Whiting, Richard Manu, Mark Olliver, Mike Bridgman

Wellington City Council

Ahi Kā 2022Ahi Kā 2022
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