Entertainment | Matariki

Two new artworks celebrate Matariki in Te Whanganui-a-Tara

A new Courtenay Place light box exhibition, Kura Huna by tauira (students) from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna guided by Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artists Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) and Hendrix Hennesy Rophia (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa), has been blessed as part of Matariki celebrations.

Te Ao, Hennesy Rophia and artist Kate Te Ao have worked with tauira to create two new art projects in response to Matariki – Kura Huna and the WAITUHI Matariki Flags at Frank Kitts Park above Whairepo Lagoon.

The lightbox artworks feature striking portraits of the tauira taken in a photographic studio. They created unique backgrounds by making photograms through placing objects between light sensitive paper and a light source. The photograms were projected as backgrounds for the portraits and combined with studio lighting effects.

The title Kura Huna refers to the valuable learning that happens by being and working together, Shannon Te Ao says.

“We acknowledge the process of creating artworks together, while also reflecting on Matariki and Puanga as times to come together too.

‘Who we are, where we are’

Kura Huna recognises who we are and where we are. These are important things to consider at this time of year,” Te Ao says.

“I wanted the rangatahi to create what they wanted to see in public space over Matariki and to be able to stand in front of the flags and light boxes and feel a real sense of ownership.”

This year’s WAITUHI flag project has been designed by year 7 and 8 tauira with guidance from Shannon and Kate Te Ao. The students created artworks for each of the eight flags that respond to Matariki – to the stars and their meaning and role.

Mayor Tory Whanau says both these artworks celebrate all that Matariki means in Aotearoa.

“These beautiful artworks have come about through collaboration, reflection, togetherness, kōrero, and consideration of our place in the past, present and future – everything that Matariki means to us as a city and a country.”

Kura Huna will be on display in the Courtenay Place light boxes until October 9, and the WAITUHI Matariki Flags will be up until mid-September.