Aotearoa my Hawaiki 2015

JAMES TYLOR
AOTEAROA MY HAWAIKI

2015

EXHIBITION TEXTS

This series explores the Polynesian Māori concept of Hawaiki. Hawaiki is the ancestral homeland and/or island where Māori people came from before migrating to Aotearoa (New Zealand). For New Zealand Māori people, the actual physical place of Hawaiki is 'Avaiki Nui (The Cook Islands). As an Australian of Māori descent, I have always had an ideological connection to Aotearoa, because it is the place where my Māori ancestors came from before migrating to Australia. As a Māori Australian, my Hawaiki or ancestral homeland is Aotearoa.
 
Growing up in Australia, I always held a connection to the ideological meaning of Aotearoa: ‘land of the long white cloud’. As a child this meaning made me imagine a place where the mountains touched the clouds. This was a very different place to my home where I grew up in Australia, which is mostly flat with clear blue skies. This series represents my ideological connection to Aotearoa through my New Zealand Māori ancestry. However, it also highlights my disconnection from the physical place or landscape of New Zealand because my Māori family migrated to Australia so many generations ago.