After an incredible time working together at Parihaka, Maata and I are now in Wellington to present a workshop and lecture at the School of Design at Victoria University. I have a few blogs to catch up on to fill in some of the details of how our project evolved – these will come in the next few days.

Last weekend at the Puanga Kai Rau Festival we celebrated the Māori New Year with about 250 visitors and whanau at Parihaka.

Maata did an incredible job organising the event with the support of many people to bring the weekend together. There were talks, workshops and some fantastic live music throughout the weekend. As always, we were led by ceremonial process with karanga, powhiri, karakia, korero and waiata marking each stage of the festival. Highlights included the lighting of the ceremonial fire, walking to the top of the hill at dawn to watch Puanga (Rigel) rise and the extinguishing (pausing) of the fire. It was wonderful ❤

Leading up to the event, Maata and I did lots of research, exploring our respective cultural stories. This was a very enriching process of learning and sharing stories connected to cosmology, creation and the turn of the year. Maata did a lot of research into the meaning of Puanga which was very interesting and inspiring.

This is a poem Maata wrote about Puanga:

The Silence: Puanga

We cannot hear the voice of Puanga
We can only gaze upon its radiance
Its beauty in the arms of Ranginui
In the Western sky
Puanga remains silent
Competing with other stars
To shine
To shine so brightly
To be seen beyond the cosmic realm
Mysteriously it gazes upon human forms
Reminding them to make ready
Clear the land
Check its yield
Return the spirit of the ancestors
Huddle down for the winter
Prepare babies for Papatuanuku
There will be food aplenty
New Moon – Early June
Full Moon – End of June
A reminder
All that is in the realm of earth and sky
Belong to the Atua

“The Silence: Puanga”
Na Maata Wharehoka
5 June 2019 Parihaka Papakainga

Our work was part of a larger exhibition put together by the wonderful Intercreator Ian Clothier. It was so good to reconnect with Ian and another dear friend and Intercreator Kate Genevieve, who made the journey from the UK for the festival. Kate and I have collaborated on a few things in the past, often focusing on ceremony as creative process – check out the posts about The Call at Crawick Multiverse in 2017.

Our work will also be presented as part of the Tiaho exhibition at the Lysaght Watt Gallery, Hāwera, which has been organised by the fabulous Gabrielle Belz and Bonita Bigham.

More soon 🙂

One thought

  1. Reblogged this on transarts alliance and commented:

    The Silence: Puanga is a collaboration between Parihaka Kuia Maata Wharehoka and Tracey Benson. For three weeks they worked and lived together, creating an installation for the Puanga Rau Kai festival at Parihaka in June 2019

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