Weaving Workshop @ Moku HQ by Ahilapalapa Rands

We were very lucky to link up with Northland weavers, Mandy Sunlight, Ruth Port and Rouati Evans during their short stay in London. The weavers were here to research and learn from Te Ra, the only known woven maori sail still in existence; Located at the British Museums Oceania Object Stores in Shoreditch, East London.

Mandy, Ruth and Rouati were greeted at Moku HQ with a full house of wahine ready to learn basic weaving skills from them. During the weaving workshop, the roopu te wahine were encouraged to create bracelets, earring and kupenga taonga (necklaces), all varying in skill levels from simple to more complex. The afternoon was centered around whanaungatanga, sharing of stories and learning together as wahine from all around Te-Moananui-a-kiwa; as well as ideas of reclamation of traditional techniques in a modern context, sparking new ideas on cultural adornment and expression.

Words & Images: Ariana Davis

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Talanoa Vibes with Salote Tawale by Ahilapalapa Rands

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Using the Moana process of talanoa, our group gathered to explore ideas and experiences of living in the diaspora and our relationships to our turangawaewae. Participants included Ariana Davis, Salote Tawale, Jess Palalagi, Ahilapalapa Rands, Ann-Marie Houng Lee, Ella Grace Newton. This event was support by ACME Studios & the Australian Council for the Arts.

For more info on Salote Please visit www.salotetawale.com

Words & Images: Ahilapapa Rands

Images: Laura Martin

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Recent Advances in Bark Cloth Conservation Technical Analysis at Kew Gardens by Ahilapalapa Rands

‘Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place’ project, is a collaboration between the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History at the University of Glasgow, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Over three years (2016 -18) they investigated the material nature of Polynesian barkcloth collections from The Hunterian Museum (Glasgow) and the Economic Botany Collection (Kew). The role of conservation in the project was to review and develop technical methods for conserving barkcloth, to stabilise and better store objects, and to facilitate visual and physical access for all user communities.

In*ter*is*land Collective, working with Mark Nesbitt, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Frances Lennard, University of Glasgow facilitated a community guestlist for the symposium, this initial connection also allowed for the group to meet lead managers from the project and to start investigating the opportunity of connecting research and collections to source communities.  The group gathered included members of the Pacific Community in London alongside academics from the Pacific, attending the Pacific Histories Association Conference in Cambridge, in turn producing an interesting spread of representation from across the Pacific from Hawai’i to the Cook Islands and back to Aotearoa.

While content from the days presentations was technical and scientifically based, much research was shared and received gratefully, particularly time spent with the Economic Botany Collection which included extraordinary examples of barkcloth from Pitcairn, Hawai’i, Fiji, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Futuna, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and New Guinea.  

Closing comments and discussion brought up the disconnect between new scientific research and information contained inside ancient language and text, oral history and cultural practices, alongside the importance of reconnecting the collections back to source communities in the Pacific and repatriation of knowledge.  We look forward to working on initiating conversations in the future and increasing accessibility to our communities.

Words: Jo Walsh

Images: Ariana Davis

Acknowledgements:  Mark Nesbitt, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew / Frances Lennard, University of Glasgow and a SPECIAL call out to Kim Walker.

Presentations by:

Situating Pacific Barkcloth Production in Time and Place - Research

Misa Tamura, University of Glasgow

Situating Pacific Barkcloth Production in Time and Place - Materials analysis of Pacific barkcloth

Margaret Smith, University of Glasgow


Barkcloth on display - the Discovering Worlds Project at RAMM

Sarah Klopf, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter


Exploring support materials and adhesives for the repair of barkcloth:

Aspects of conserving tapa elements of a Tahitian mourner’s costume

Sophie Rowe, Nicole Rode and Monique Pullan, The British Museum


Mounting barkcloth with rare earth magnets: the compression and fibre resiliency answer

Gwen Spicer, Spicer Art Conservation

Pacific History Association Conference - The Gift of the Pacific: Place and Perspective in Pacific history by Ahilapalapa Rands

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December 4th - December 6th

The Pacific History Association (PHA) promotes research in and the teaching of Pacific History. Established in 1980 at a conference in Martindale Hall, South Australia, the association holds biennial conferences around the Pacific.

For the first time the 23rd Biennial Conference of the Pacific History Association traveled outside of the Pacific. The conference opened in London at the Royal Academy of Arts to tie into the Oceania exhibition and from there the conference moved to Cambridge for the remaining two days.

In*ter*is*land Collective members Ahilapalapa Rands and Jo Walsh attended the Pacific History Association Conference 2018 through the support of New Zealand Studies Network and the Pacific History Association.

The conference was a jarring mix of well established colonial rhetoric and ground breaking, innovative and archival practice from Pacific experts who had travelled to talk back to the Empire.

You can follow their commentary of the event on twitter via the hashtags

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#PACHIST18

#PHA18

@interislanders

@Daily_Alaea

@Ahilapalapa

@maorigirljojo

www.hist.cam.ac.uk/news/137-pacific-history-association-conference-in-cambridge

Words and images: Ahilapalapa Rands

AROHA in Action: RA Oceania by Ahilapalapa Rands

Creating gifts of aroha for our taonga and ancestral belongings at the Royal Academy

This year, Taonga and ancestral belongings from across Moana nui a Kiwa have been gathered in London's Royal Academy of Arts, on public display until December 10th, 2018. Aside from the few taonga brought over from Te Papa and the “contemporary” art pieces, many of these have been held in impoverished colonial archives here in Europe for many years.

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While the context that these Taonga and ancestral belongings have been brought out for is very problematic, we wanted to seize the opportunity for quality time with our belongings before they travel to Paris and are returned to the dark confines of storage.

We want our taonga to hear our voices, to let them know we are here, and that we are thinking about them always. Aroha in Action was an opportunity for us to gather as a whānau, supporting each other to make offerings and responses.

Over two days we went between the Royal Academy Oceania exhibition, to visit our belongings and taonga, and then return to MOKU to reflect together, while making offerings of our voices, movements and gifts. We presented our offerings as a group, standing shoulder to shoulder, in support of one another and our ancestors.

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For many of us the long term goal is to regain our autonomy and custody over our taonga and ancestral belongings and this moment, space and opportunity is the beginning of that journey.

NB: Aroha in Action was a community action and not a scheduled event in connection with the RA programme.

Words: Jo Walsh

Images: Ariana Davis

Painting Ngati with Tui Emma Guiles and Sulieti Fieme'a Burrows by Ahilapalapa Rands

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In*ter*is*land Collective spent time with Tui Emma Gillies and Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows while they were in London for Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts, en route to Madrid where they would further their research within the Tongan collection at the Museo de America.   

Based in Aotearoa, New Zealand Tui and Sulieti are the 2018 recipients of the Pacific Heritage Art Award from Creative New Zealand for a project to decorate two large NGATU (barkcloth) with women in Sulieti’s home village in Vava’u.  


Tui and Fieme’a arrived with gifts of NGATU (Tongan barkcloth) from Nuku’alofa and clay from Nuku Island, handmade KUPESI (print block), a bag full of paint brushes, Indian ink and arrowroots paste.  After the preparation of materials and work surfaces, we started the day with viewing Tui’s first handmade film of the project in Vava’u ‘Falavai Flava’, followed by much laughter and sharing during an inspirational and productive workshop.

Words: Jo Walsh

Images: Hannebe Gutchen & Jo Walsh

AROHA in Action - Hoa Hakananai’a by Ahilapalapa Rands

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18th November 2018

While we waited outside their meeting at the British Museum Maria told us of a dream she had last Monday before news had arrived that her people were coming. Shining bright and beautiful were Nunua fish but unlike in their ocean home of Rapanui they were in a river, a waterway unfamiliar to the island.

150 years ago, under the command of English navigator Commodore Richard Powell, the crew of HMS Topaze removed Hoa Hakananai’a from a clifftop along with a second, smaller statue known as Hava.
Powell then gave them to Queen Victoria when the ship returned to England the following year, and the monarch donated them to the British Museum.

 Having spent 150 years away from its home, the statue – known as Hoa Hakananai’a –has become the focal point of a movement to return the moai which has steadily gathered momentum, when the island’s mayor, Pedro Edmunds, wrote to the museum requesting the statue’s return.

November 2018 brought tangata from all over our Moana, based in the UK together.  This was the first instance of Aroaha in Action a collective formed to support the people of Rapanui and other Moana movements.  We stood alongside Ma'u Henua (a delegation from Rapanui) who had travelled to call upon the British Museum to return their stolen Moai ancestors. #QueVuelvaElMoai #MaytheMoaiReturn.

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Repatriation now British Museum your time and tired arguments are limited. Give them back the ancestors you stole.

If you want to support follow Ma’u Henua, sign the online petition https://bit.ly/2qV66pg, share information via the hashtag and stay tuned as our work isn’t over.

Words: Ahilapalapa Rands

Melanesian Marks: Revival through Practice by Ahilapalapa Rands

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What are the dynamics of revival when cultural memory has been diminished by colonisation and accounts of the practice are translated through the positionality of academics and outsiders?

Melanesian Marks is a movement to revive the practice of marking our indigenous bodies as an act of reclamation, reinscribing importance on bodies that became invisible in the colonial narrative of our existence.

Curator Ema Tavola and tattoo practitioner Julia Mage’au Gray shared their personal journeys within the movement of reviving tattoo practices indigenous to the Moana (Oceania) through photos and stories.  This panel was framed by a two day residency at Moku where Julia marked people in the space and the documentary following her journey, Tep Tok was screened as well as the art work The Calling.

For more about each practitioner see:

Ema: https://pimpiknows.com/tag/ema-tavola/

Julia: https://www.melanesianmarks.com/about-julia

Words: Ahilapalapa Rands

Images: Joshua Virusami

Talanoa: Ancient Futures Project by Ahilapalapa Rands

“Folaloa e falā kae alea e kāinga”

(Roll out the mat so our kin can gather and dialogue)

Hosted in partnership with University of Auckland, the Ancient Futures Projects research team comprises of Tongan Artists and specialists in Tongan history, material culture and museum collections.  

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In the company of honoured Tongan artists Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi and Dagmar Dyck and academic collaborators Phyllis Herda, Billie Lythberg, Arne Perminow, Andy Mills and Wonu Veys; Talanoa: Ancient Futures was held in conclusion to a three-week tour of collections, where Tongan works are held, in Europe and the United Kingdom.   In*ter*is*land Collective provides connection and a space for people to come together to talk art, history and the future.

Talanoa is not just to talk but it means to bring different people, ideas and words together with ofa, mafana, malie and faka’apa’apa (love, warmth, laughter, respect).   The evening started with time together to eat a feast of baked kumara, green bananas and fresh pork salad and ended with much discussion and sharing around identities, inspiration, memories and current projects.   This is the way of the our people all throughout the MOANA.

EUROPEAN & UK COLLECTIONS VISITED: Weltmuseum Wien, Vienna; Grassi Museum, Leipzig; The Forster Collection in Dessau-Woerlitz; Etnografiska Museet, Stockholm; Muśee du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris; Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge; British Museum, London; Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford; and the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Words & Images: Jess Palalagi

FALSE DIVIDES by LANA LOPESI // LONDON BOOK LAUNCH by Ahilapalapa Rands

Hosted by In*ter*is*land Collective & New Zealand Studies Network in association with Bridget Williams Books & Contemporary HUM

Monday 8th October, 2018

Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa is the great ocean continent. Today, most of us think of the ocean as something that divides land and separates people. However, for those Indigenous to the Pacific (or the Moana), the sea was traditionally a connector and an ancestor.

Writer Lana Lopesi’s new book False Divides explores how these connections were dismantled by colonialism and describes how imperialism in the Moana created false divides between islands and separated their peoples.

The UK book launch of False Divides was held at MOKU, Raven Row in London.  Lana led the session with readings from the book, followed by a panel discussion that unpacked complicated histories, reflecting on personal experience and a re-discovery of connection.  The session concluded with a waiata (song) and a poem written by Vanessa Lee Miller, followed by a shared supper and more conversation.

The book launch was preceded by the inaugural gathering of the In*ter*is*land Collective Reading Group, which was facilitated by Lana and covered themes in False Divides.  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR LANA LOPESI

Lana Lopesi is a critic of art and culture based Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. Lana’s writing has featured in a number of publications in print and online as well as in numerous artist and exhibition catalogues. Lana is currently the Editor-in-Chief for The Pantograph Punch and was Founding Editor of #500words.  

Follow Lana on twitter at: @lanalopesi

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Spanning contemporary issues, history and memoir, and the series now amounts to well over fifty works.

False Divides is available for purchase here https://www.bwb.co.nz/books/false-divides


FAFSWAG - MOKU Takeover by Ahilapalapa Rands

In their first tour of Europe...

Contemporary New Zealand based Pacific Island QTIPOC collective FAFSWAG joined us at MOKU.

FAFSWAG is a visual arts incubator for queer indigenous creatives working collaboratively to activate public and digital space and disavow false representation of queer brown identities and bodies through creativity and self-expression.

Their collective practices include filmmaking, live art, performance art, adornment and dance and in many cases, some or all of these elements are combined to produce dynamic new work that is firmly rooted in their Pacific Island community and cultures.

Their most recent work is a revolutionary piece of digital immersive art. Fafswagvogue sees the elements of gaming, dance, documentary making and surveillance brought together in a 'Manga' meets 'The Terminator' world of dance battles, underground cityscapes and Polynesian culture.

Hollywood Director and the producer of the project Taika Waititi had this to say about the project:

"Auckland is burning! So proud to support such strong artists and this beautiful part of NZ culture. I love this project so much!"

The event included a screening of their new work fafswagvogue.com, followed by a panel discussion focussed on the making of the new work, their collective art practice and what the future holds for them as contemporary Pacific island artists.

See the link below for more:

www.vice.com/en_nz/article/j5nkb4/aucklands-vogue-balls-are-a-church-for-queers-and-everyone-else


Whose Oceania? by Ahilapalapa Rands

Panel Discussion by Contemporary HUM

With Pauline Autet, James Belich, Lana Lopesi & Matariki Williams

Saturday 29 September, 2018

Coinciding with the opening of the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, publishing platform Contemporary HUM hosted their second public panel discussion Whose Oceania?

The discussion was designed to provide a space to respond to the exhibition outside the confines of the institution. Invited UK based, historian and Beit Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford University, James Belich, Curator Mātauranga Māori at Museum for New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Matariki Williams, co-chair Lana Lopesi, Art Critic and Editor-in-Chief of the Pantograph Punch and HUM’s editor Pauline Autet, brought their own analysis and complicate narratives presented within Oceania.

There is a full transcript of the discussion available here:

https://www.contemporaryhum.com/whose-oceania-panel-discussion

We were very grateful that this panel enabled us to spend time with, connect and host Matariki and Lana during their visit to London from Aotearoa.  


Tuhuratanga: A Voyage of Discovery at the British Museum by Ahilapalapa Rands

In March 2018, the British Library commissioned New Zealand Māori photographer, Crystal Te Moananui-Squares (Ngāti Hako) and New Zealand Māori producer, Jo Walsh (Ngāpuhi) to create Tūhuratanga: Voyage of Discovery in response to the exhibition James Cook: The Voyages.

The series of images depict people of Te Moananui a Kiwa (The Pacific Ocean) living in the United Kingdom today and are a celebration of the strength drawn, and love shown for, the diverse cultures carried from Aotearoa New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Wallis & Fortuna, Samoa, Fiji, Tokelau, Tahiti, Marquesas and Hawai’i.

‘We are the embodiment of our ancestors, we carry our cultural heritage with and within us.  It informs who we are, who we wish to be and the legacies that we create for our future generations’ - Jo Walsh, 2018

Each portrait navigates ideas of identity and connection to the Pacific and is a contemporary response to the legacy of James Cook and the images and illustrations depicting cultures encountered on the historical voyages and shown in the exhibition.

Both Crystal and Jo relished the opportunity to work with the community of Te-Moananui-a-Kiwa to photograph and celebrate the uniqueness, success and contribution of people from their own Pacific heritage and to create a positive narrative for generation of Tangata Moana (people of the Pacific) in the present and for the future.


Acknowledgements: Apolonia and Luka, Bernadette and the Mackenzie / Wallis and Futuna mob in Kent, Aria Te Moananui Squares, Ariana Davis, Ataraiti Waretini, Beats of Polynesia, British Museum, Charlie Panapa, Hanalee Rainbow Fish Vaike, Horniman Museum, Jerome Kavanagh, Jess, Justeen, Gavin, August and Grayson, Justin Walsh, Joy Winitana Fenikowski and Deli Winlock, Katrina Igglesden, Lara Fields, Lauren Blissett, Lianne Unasa, Lilyanne Suka-Orme, Lyall Hakaraia, Momoe Tasker with Temu and Ari, Regan O’Callaghan, National Maritime Museum, New Zealand House, Ngati Ranana, SaVAge K’lub & Rosanna Raymond, Shakaiah Perez, Shaye Laree, Sheryl and Lt Com. Zia Jones RNZN, Sofara Aiono, Tash Vaike, Te Rangitu, George, Te Ahi, Kowhai and Pare-Ata Netana in Suffolk, Tupaia, Vanessa Majoribanks, Herewaka, Hinetera and Hariata, Willow and Tony, Dame Anne Salmond (Trial of the Cannibal Dog – Captain Cook in the South Seas), Whaea Esther.  British Library, Emma Tutton, Laura Walker, William Frame, Geraldine Kenny, Alex Whitfield, Alice Carter, Jean-Philippe Calvin, Jamie Andrews, Stefan Bouchareb.

Words: Jo Walsh

Image: Crystal Te Moananui-Squares

Creative New Zealand East End Tea Party by Ahilapalapa Rands


Working closely with Creative New Zealand’s International Team, In*ter*is*land Collective hosted *East End High Tea* for the artists, curators and government representatives connected to the curation of the exhibition Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

The afternoon tea, of was held at Raven Row on Sunday 23 September 2018 with many people in attendance, of particular importance the artists, who had come from Aotearoa including members of Mata Aho Collective - Bridget Reweti, Sarah Hudson, Terri Titau Fiona Pardington and Mark Adams, along with curator Peter Brunt and assistant Hanahiva Rose, Chair of Creative New Zealand Michael Moynahan and two kiwi’s from the Royal Academy team Hannah Murray (Assistant Exhibitions Manager) and Amy Macpherson (Deputy Head of Digital Content and Channels).

An informal and social event, despite the rain falling relentlessly from Ranginui onto Papatuanuku.  The menu was delicious and featured a range of stuffed local bagels, fresh scones with cream and jam and straight from the oven sausage rolls.  

Invitations were sent out in both English and Māori.  A big shout out to Jude Chambers for her support and trust in us creating this event together.

Word & Images: Jo Walsh

Translation: Ataraiti Waretini


Ta'okota'ianga - Parae (Costume) Making Workshop by Ahilapalapa Rands

Ta’okota’inga was led by Tash Vaike, Pacific community leader, founder and Arataki for ‘Beats of Polynesia’.  Beats of Polynesia is a Pacific Island dance group that has been running for over 12 years and specialises in Cook Island and Tahitian dance.

The workshop took place over two days focused on the creation of a new collection of parae (costumes) to be worn for performances which were to weave dances from islands, represented in the Pacific Encounters Gallery at the National Maritime Museum, into a medley navigating Te Moananui a Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) for the opening events and gala receptions from the 19 – 23 September 2018.    

The workshop sessions were ‘drop-in’, with many different age groups attended and a full range of skills, crafts and knowledge being exchanged.

Words: Jo Walsh

Images: Crystal Te Moananui-Squares


LEI MAKING WORKSHOPS with Jacqui Brown by Ahilapalapa Rands

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LEI MAKING WORKSHOPS

with Jacqui Brown

ONGOING

A key part of building our island away from home has been caring for our space. This has included the naming, the tikanga we hold, and the activities we do inside of it. At the very beginning, over a series of evenings, MOKU was warmed up through the sharing of food and making sessions, under the tutelage of lei maker Jacqui Brown. Hawaiian ribbon lei use materials that are readily available in London, rather than fresh lei which rely on a natural abundance of materials harder to find in such an urbanised space. Our lei collection continues to grow and shrink as we make and share ribbon lei with our Pacific community and treasured guests.