The participants of WPP

We are currently in residence in New Plymouth for Water, Peace, Power. Over the weekend we stayed at the camp house at the base of Mt Taranaki in Egmont National Park, which was a wonderful way of introducing residents to Taranaki.

Over the weekend we had a hui (meeting) which explored the themes of WPP. The hui started with a beautiful welcome to country from some of the Taranaki elders – Te Huirangi Waikerepuru, Te Urutahi Waikerepuru and Kura Puke.

Taranaki Elders-Te Huirangi Waikerepuru, Te Urutahi Waikerepuru and Kura Puke
Taranaki Elders -Te Huirangi Waikerepuru, Te Urutahi Waikerepuru and Kura Puke

We talked about lots of different topics related to the themes of WPP, as well as spending time getting to know each other.

Yesterday we relocated to the residency venue at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) in New Plymouth to start work on our creative projects. It was a busy day of learning about some of the technologies as well as having the chance to refine the conceptual elements of our project. Lee, Marty and I came up with this artist statement for the project:

The work for Water, Peace, Power at Parihaka seeks to acknowledge both the tangata whenua of Parihaka and the yenbena of Yorta Yorta Nation. This site specific work is the first stage of the Way of the Turtle project, which focuses on cultural and community empowerment, skill sharing and finding the interconnections with other cultural perspectives. The project considers many layers of connection between water, land and people. The contiguity of the work includes the Dhungala creation story in Yorta Yorta and English languages, data obtained via community engagement, as well as data recording the temperature of the river and the flow of the water. This work acknowledges one of the Yorta Yorta totems, the Bayadherra (turtle) and the importance of the river to all life.

The Yorta Yorta belief is that “we are the land and the land is we”. The river represents our bloodstream, the mist represents our sweat and the rain represents our tears. In saying this, we also acknowledge the agreement made between the Crown and the Whanganui iwi which has given the Whanganui River legal rights as a sentient being.

“We are the river and the river is we”

Today we are participating in a series of workshops, led by  Alan GiddyAndrew Hornblow and Nigel Helyer, where we are learning about solar energy and low tech electronics to create interactive, self powering artworks. It is a very steep learning curve for me, as my knowledge of electronics and energy on a practical level is limited. That said, I am finding the workshops very useful and practical, which is great.

More soon.

Audio by Yorta Yorta women Sharon Atkinson and Rochelle Patten. Wai by Parihaka descendant Jo Tito and Australian sound artist Leah Barclay. Technical guidance from Allan Giddy, Andrew Hornblow and Nigel Helyer. Way of the Turtle would like to thank Ricky Spencer, TurtleSAT and NSW DPI for sharing their data with us.

To see complete video of  “Postcard from Dhungala with Love” check out Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/67121117

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