Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Waitangi Day

Dear Queen
There seems to have been a misunderstanding
Perhaps I can explain.
You see
When I say 'family', I do not mean my mum and dad, my brothers and sisters;
I mean everyone I know who I value and am connected with, tied by love and not necessarily just blood;
When I say 'land', I do not mean this asset I possess,
I mean our land, the place where we belong, our connection to the earth, most vital to our spiritual well being;
And when we said 'yes'
We did not give you permission to strip us of our rights and property; to steal the land; jail our men; and displace us from our homelands.
We meant "We have plenty and you can share it with us. There's enough for everyone."
So please could you put everything back where it belongs
And leave things bloody well alone!

Today was Waitangi Day. The day we in New Zealand celebrate the establishment of the Treaty, an agreement between the Crown (English) and the Maori over 100 years ago. Unfortunately the Treaty was never honoured and still remains a thorn in many peoples sides. It is our own country's internal struggle. My own views are varied on this hot topic - so much hurt and injustice occurred and there's much restitution and healing yet to be done. Our city had a celebration of sorts and here are some pics I took today as I roamed the grounds at the local high school.
Close up of a sculpture in the sculpture competition. Sorry No. 14, I didn't get ur name, but I liked your concept best. Maybe not the tidiest execution of materials but definitely the most evocative given the purpose of the day. A few of my staunch sisters came up alongside, and the European artist nervously apologised "I don't mean to offend anyone" says she. Well, us Maori folk all unanimously agreed this was the best sculpture due to: her use of te reo (our language) and the symbolism of a crown over the words (for us anyway it symbolised oppression). We all rushed over to the table and voted for her piece. I hope she won. (PS. All materials supplied by Trash Palace).
A wall of flower brooches.
Some little taonga (treasures). I bought my son one of the Mother Of Pearly koru (spiral) pieces at the bottom. He needed his own Taonga. It cost me $8.
Some metal renditions of classic Maori designs. I'm not sure that I like these, preferring traditional materials in this instant but I can understand their appeal. My son probably would've liked these too but I like the pearl ones, they have a different glow.
I asked this lovely lady if I could photograph her Pacific Island jewellery stand but I like this photo of her better. You can see why Captain Cook and his fellow sailors were captured with the Pacific.

Some of her lovely wares including a fabric flower and turtle earrings made with coconut shell and a fibre braided through them. Flowers are a big deal for Pacific Island women. They are a symbol of beauty and are worn behind the ear for all occasions, much like jewellery. But make sure you know which ear to put it behind, for one side is for married women, and the other signals a woman is single(which makes it handy for guys to know that a woman is available). These fabric flowers are great because we are not a tropical country and exotic blooms are not in abundance here. Samoan hair clips.

What is it about these evocative sounds and dusky men with long black hair. It's quite sexy actually. I took a photo of their cd, hoping to post their name, but alas the photo was blurry, so sorry lads but you were nice to look at and listen too. I swear, I will one day be able to afford lovely handmade shoes. I will even get them fitted to my feet by the maker. After being alongside a 'handmade shoe' workshop last year, I came to appreciate the value of good shoes, and they needn't be boring either. I must admit, none of these really appealed to me, except maybe those lime green and turquoise ones at the end.
Being a textile artist, I was drawn to this table and this new take on an old idea. Miriona was lovely as she talked about her work. There were at least six people behind the table with her and when I asked if these were her whanau (family), she laughed because she reckons that was only a quarter of them. She did this nifty thing with driftwood and wove some string up it. I think her flowers are cheerful and unique. I must admit, I was looking for Maori artists and crafts - where the heck are they? This is Porirua, Polynesian Central in the Capital for goodness sake! Then my husband pointed to the front of the stage and all the Maori's sitting there watching the shows. "There they are," he said, "they're all eating." So ok. But I do get a bit pissy seeing all the same old trades folk out selling caps, commercial jewellery, balloons etc and I understand you all have to make a living, but given that it is WAITANGI Day, I figure there should be more representation from our side as well.

See, weaving flowers from flax is something I do with my mother-in-law when she comes to visit. We experiment. She's half Tahitian and half Cook Island, and merge this with Maori weaving styles, I have learned some amazing skills from her ...

I found a tiger.
A cool hat.
Some fish.
An Indian!

A flock of Indians. No bull, I really want some of these wing things myself. I can just see myself in these. Aren't they beautiful. They were flogging their cd's from a metal briefcase. The irony. But they really are beautiful.
A fale (Polynesian hut) ...
Where they sold half a pineapple stuffed with ice cream for $5. yum.
And finally, I was determind today to get at least one picture of myself, so theMan faithfully grabbed the camera and caught these shots. My favourite feather earring. I felt so connected to my Native American brothers. Me and theBoy2. Give me some of that slushy! (What is a slushy? Shaved ice and flavoured syrup of course). Notice he wears his taonga.
TheMan sits smiling. I took off to do my art thing while he took the boys on the fair rides, fed them and then followed me around as I finished off my rounds. Unflappable he is. Now finally we are where he likes to be. Being a musician, the stage and music is always his drawcard at these shows, that is, if he isn't standing on it singing himself.
The Wellington Ukelele Orchestra. So kitsch. I loved the girl in the frock on the end with the flower in her hair. She wore bright red lipstick and shoes, and played and sung with gusto. The energy this group gave off was fun, clever and very entertaining.
And finally a bit of Polynesian styles. Admittedly we came late, so we missed all the other acts but here is a church choir doing some form of a siva (dance). ...That was my day at park. There are more photos, but I just wanted to share a glimpse. A bit late posting because my mum read my blog and was so passionate about it, she rang and we talked for nearly FIVE hours tonight. Um, she's in Brisbane, Australia and I'm in New Zealand. I could've flown there and back. My son's are back at school tomorrow after their summer vacation. I need some sleep. Going for coffee tomorrow with all my friend's at Aunty Daisy's, a cafe down by the beach. Looking forward to it. We're celebrating the kids being back at school. Cafe's and long chats are not conducive with children. And the food's so expensive, I can't afford to take my two, do you know how much they eat?? Apopo ra (until tomorrow)...

1 comment:

india flint said...

hey Ahipara Girl..i've always wondered about the Waitangi Treaty and having read it can't see for the life of me how it was fair to begin with, let alone dissecting the honouring of it. i mean agreeing to hand over your country in return for becoming a disregarded 'subject' of some decorated woman - Queen Victoria(who received those 'decorations' through inheritance, rather than for her intelligence or humanity)and was herself an import to the country she ruled
still, i guess it's better than what happened on the bigger island that Cook 'found' which was regarded as 'terra nullius' (an empty!!! land). on the other hand, had the French gotten here first, i suspect conditions for the original inhabitants may (and I use the word advisedly) have been even worse. bad enough as it was.

anyway enough rabbiting, thank you for sharing Waitangi Day in such detail, almost felt as if i'd wandered about there with you...and why didn't i get one of those ice-cream stuffed pineapples? mmm.