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