Saturday, May 25, 2019

Matariki


When I was out for dinner on Wednesday night with my parents and their friends at the Port Macquarie Golf Club, I came across a beautiful work of art on the wall near the entrance to the dining room.

It was a sculpture-like work, made of twisted branches and some kind of weaved fibrous material, comprised of vines, stems, and/or grasses. Try as I might, I could not see a title or the name of the artist. There was, however, an artist's statement, which informed me that whoever created this beautiful piece is Māori, an Indigenous person from New Zealand.

A later search of the "Photo Gallery" of the Golf Club's website revealed that the artist is Anaheke Metua, a young Maori woman from Aoeteroa, the Māori name for New Zealand, and a descendant of the Nga Te Rangi tribe.

Anaheke describes herself as a "fibre artist" and "environmental and art worker." As such, she is part of Sustainable Dreaming, a "collective of artists and cultural ambassadors that work across various fields, towards a common goal – co-creating a healthy future by utilizing new sustainable innovations whilst honoring and learning from the cultures and custodians who have come before us." Inspiring stuff, to be sure!

Here's what Anaheke says about her artwork at Port Macquarie Golf Club.

I’ve always been fascinated by the moon and the stars, endlessly curious as to their magic. This piece is inspired by the constellation known to my people (Māori) as Matariki/Pleiades. When she rises on the horizon in June/July, it marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori calendar. Our calendar is a phenomenological calendar – meaning it is based on the observations of the cycles of the moon, sun, water, wind, plant, animal and flower as indicators to help guide us cultivate, hunt, fish and store food. Each star has is its own name and represents both male and female spirit/energy. This star system is also a very important navigational marker when traversing the great expanse of Te Moana o Kiwa – the Pacific Ocean. Every human culture has developed a deep understanding and knowledge of the cycles and patterns of the plant, animal, elemental and spiritual kingdom of their place. Thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge is being lost daily. This is how I’m expressing my growing understanding for these indicators of change and guidance for my people.



For previous posts in the Australian Sojourn, April-May 2019 series, see:
Part 1: Guruk
Part 2: On Sacred Ground
Part 3: In the Land of the Kamilaroi
Part 4: Meeting a Living Legend
Part 5: Flower Moon Rising
Part 6: A Walk Along Lighthouse Beach
Part 7: Jojo Zaho: “Let Your Faboriginality Shine Through”
Part 8: Recognising and Honoring Australia's First Naturalists


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