Ārai awa, 2023

Artists: Rachael Rakena & Paulette Tamati-Elliffe
Music: Laughton Kora
Post Production: Michael Bridgman
Costume Designer: Amber Bridgman
Cinematography: Iain Frengley

First Exhibited at Te Atamira: June 25, 2023 - Sep 22, 2023

Ārai Awa is an immersive video installation reflecting on the obstructed ancestral journey of tuna (eels) in the Whakatipu region. Led by Rachael Rakena and Paulette Tamati-Elliffe with a creative team including Laughton Kora, Michael Bridgman, Komene Cassidy, Tūmai Cassidy, Ross Hemera, Amber Bridgman, Iain Frengley, Arihia Latham, Donna Matahaere-Atariki and Virginia Watson.

This apakura (lament) is sung by a solo female voice taking the position of a tuna (eel) who is unable to follow the ancestral trails her tīpuna have followed for millennia. Following the structure of a mōteatea (traditional chant), she expresses her grief for the end of her line as she cannot find passage to the ocean to release her hua. With this artwork we raise awareness of her plight, and call for action to enable her passage before it is too late.


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