Tira Taonga

Author: Puke, KA; Foster, ST

Type: Creative work

Link to this item using this URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10179/11582

Massey University


Tira: n. travelling party, company of travellers, choir, ray, beam (Moorfeild, 2011). A collaboration with Stuart Foster (College of Creative Arts, MU) for the group exhibition reflex, figment as part of the Triggering Memory Symposium for Memory Waka Massey University NZ and Seracuse University USA. September 2015 marks the 31st year since the spectacular dawn opening of ‘Te Maori’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984. ‘Te Maori’ presented in New York and three other central American museums, set down a profound legacy and ongoing impacts for all New Zealanders in the international art and heritage arenas. From the Taranaki region, one of the exhibiting taonga was a tauihu; a war canoe prow carved within the Te Huringa 1 stylistic classification period. In 1986 ‘Te Maori’ then returned with the exhibition renamed ‘Te Hokinga Mai’, a ‘home’ tour to four New Zealand centres, that allowed the significance of the event to be reflected upon within a national and iwi context. The taonga were then settled back to their respective resting places, mainly in public museum collections with continued visual commemoration occurring through printed publications. The unique aspect of these exhibitions were the tira or travelling party of elders and younger iwi members who accompanied the exhibition: to keep the taonga ‘warm’ and uphold ‘mana’ of the taonga, their interconnecting people and lands. A contingent of Taranaki elders joined this first exhibition to New York. For Māori taonga remain valued for their intangible, as much, as their tangible, qualities. This significance is expressed through performative incantation that reflects an understanding of an ultimate reality of all things: as energy, with ‘mauri’ manifest in this physical realm: Te ao marama, often through reference to the notions of light waves and frequencies. ‘Tira Taonga’ marks the commencement of the retracing and return visit to New York in 2016, where ‘real-time’ ceremonial vocalisations will illuminate and drive light qualities across surface. Through 3D scanning and visualization processes, light points are captured as pixels and constituted in form as the tauihu. For Reflex, figment a process of consent and ceremonial inclusion has allowed the investigation of 3D imaging techniques and sound carrying light with this taonga, for this first step toward the tauihu visualisation. ‘Tira Taonga’ signifies the beginning of a visual-aural journey; toward rejuvenating the memory of our elders, acknowledging the ongoing life cycle of the taonga, and illuminating the pathway for the tira accompanying this virtual tauihu; our living descendants. He oranga te taonga he oranga te tangata (Te Huirangi Waikerepuru)

Subjects: virtual, wairua, technology ceremony and customary knowledge

Copyright: http://mro.massey.ac.nz/handle/10179/10904