Megan Brady, Kiringāua Cassidy, D Harding, Ruby Mae Hinepunui Solly, Areta Wilkinson
28 Jan – 05 Mar
TIHEI MAURI ORA, the first sneeze of life vibrates into space, and human existence is claimed. The exhibition Te Hā considers the sacred breath: the deep inhalation, a savouring, the expulsion, pulse, echo and squall, resonating tone and timbre, intonation and incantation. Mātauranga Kāi Tahu is central in the formation of this exhibition kaupapa. Te hā is transferred through the spoken words of Kāi Tahu rangatira Teone Taare Tikao, recorded by historian Herries Beattie (Tikao Talks, 1939). Tikao’s account explains the source of the winds, through the marriage of Maui’s grandfather Mahuika, the atua of fire, and Hine-pu-nui-o-toka who holds te pu o te hau: the power of the winds.
Areta Wilkinson (Kāti Irakehu, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Ngāi Tūāhuriri) and D Harding (Ghungalu, Bidjara, and Garingbal peoples) are represented by existing works; Megan Brady (Kāi Tahu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Pākehā), Ruby Mae Hinepunui Solly (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) and Kiringāua Cassidy (Kāi Tahu) have been commissioned to make new works. Curator and Toi Māori Intern Taniora Tamati-Rakete (Te Atiawa, Kāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi) invokes te hā as an expression of interconnectedness. Both the premise and artworks in this exhibition are founded in Māori or indigenous knowledge and are enduring expressions of hauora, vitality and connectivity. Tamati-Rakete seeks to emphasise connections between the breath, mental wellbeing and tranquillity, and Kāi Tahu kōrero concerning te hau and te tai ao. Te Hā at The Physics Room is intended as a contemplative space, a space for listening, and for considering how we connect to the breath.