Te Teko (2009- ) is part of an on-going work referencing my whānau (family) and our tangata whenua (people of the land), in the small, predominantly Māori populated town of the same name in Aotearoa New Zealand. A personal series, which began soon after the death of my father some 15 years ago, is rooted in my exploration of our tūpuna, (ancestors) whakapapa (genealogy) and the takaoraoratanga (conflict) my father and the generations before us faced.
Continuing this kōrero (conversation) through my photographs has become essential to my work. It’s important for this kōrero 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. (Raupatu)
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 whānau (family) and Te Teko today.
I continue to learn about my tūpuna (ancestors) as I reflect the life around me and the world I grew up in as a Pākehā Maori, wahine (woman).
The whenua (land) is the life force of the Ngāti 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.