Te Teko (2009- ) is part of an on-going work referencing my whanau (family) and our tangata whenua (people of the land), in the small, predominantly Maori populated town of the same name in Aotearoa New Zealand. A personal series, which began soon after the death of my father some 12 years ago, is rooted in my exploration of our tipuna, (ancestors) whakapapa (genealogy) and the takaoraoratanga (conflict) my father and the generations before us faced.
Continuing this korero (conversation) through my photographs has become essential to my work. It’s important for these stories to be shared and understood.
Te Teko is a powerful community and symbolic of indigenous cultures universally who continue to struggle with loss and hope from the aftermath of historic land theft.
This project draws strongly on the complexity of colonialism in Aotearoa New Zealand, The Raupatu, (land theft) consequences of dislocation and assumes norms that are referenced from history, memory, whenua (land) and my own relationship with whanau (family) and Te Teko today.
I continue to learn about my tupuna (ancestors) as I reflect the life around me and the world I grew up in as a Pakeha Maori, wahine (woman).
The whenua (land) is the life force of the Ngati Awa People. For a people whose land is both spiritual and functional, the lingering impact and consequences of colonial land confiscation are still so visible and felt today, over 150 years later.
By understanding the past we can understand the present and look towards a future with progressive ideals.