Whakatairangitia rere ki uta, rere ki tai
New Zealand has significant levels of development in coastal areas that are already affected by sea level rise. Erosion of beaches and the collapse of some coastal infrastructure during storms is already evident in several parts of the country.
The aim of this project is to develop a framework for building resilience in coastal Māori farming communities by identifying culturally-informed climate change adaptation strategies; and testing their economic, environmental and cultural implications through a series of designed, whole-of-farm scenarios. Explicit consideration of iwi and hapū perspectives is regarded as critical, as a recent review of New Zealand’s adaptive capacity found that such perspectives can reflect a clear sense of inter-generational stewardship as an active exercise of kaitiakitanga.
I was delighted to be asked to join the project as typographic designer for the March 2017 exhibition. The exhibition, which took place in a collection of dairy sheds near Levin, was the culmination of an 18-month project. It was subsequently exhibited at The Dowse as part of This Time of Useful Consciousness—Political Ecology Now. I provided additional exhibition design for this installation.
The project team included Huhana Smith, Penny Allan, Aroha Spinks, Moira Poutama, Martin Manning, Jane Richardson, Derrylea Hardy, Murray Patterson, Abdallah Richards and Yota Kojima.
The title Whakatairangitia rere ki uta, rere ki tai comes from a whakataukī (proverb):
Unuhia te rito o te kōrari kei hea te Kōmako e kō? Whakatairangitia – rere ki uta, rere ki tai; Ui mai oe ki ahau he aha te mea nui o te Ao, Māku e kī atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
Take away the heart of the flax bush and where will the Kōmako sing? Proclaim it to the land, proclaim it to the sea; Ask me, “What is the greatest thing in the world?” I will reply, “It is people, it is people, it is people!”