A hugely important part of our artistic process is to research the history of the whenua (land) we are working upon, with that it so happens that many parts of Tāmaki (Auckland) are connected to my (Janine) whakapapa (ancestral geneology). The close proximity to these locations enables us to regularly travel to these places connecting our professional practise with the very personal journey of knowing more of who we are.
The newest regional park here in our city is the beautiful Waitawa Bay. Located 50km from central Auckland on our south-eastern coast, Waitawa is made up of three small peninsulas and fronts onto four bays and is a recreation park. It was here on this site my great great grandparents William & Parewheururangi Castle worked/lived in the mid 19th century having built a trading post & small tavern. Trade was a very important part of their lives & also to the wider whanau in the area. Supplying Auckland with a strong focus on the city centre, Ngāti Paoa were a powerhouse in produce production travelling back & forward on waka to the central foreshore of the CBD.
Not so long ago we had the privilege of attending the official blessing of the latest information panel. How amazing to be included in this process & to also have the honour of appearing in one of the photographs alongside my mother & under my tupuna. Generations connected together by DNA, land & spirit, Ngāti Paoa is strengthening its presence after years of being scattered due to the musket wars of the 1820s & disease that came with the new arrivals. It is an honour & privilege to represent my whanau in the work & projects as of late, I can only hope that they are all looking down upon me with a smile on their faces!