Te Koretētāmaua SETTLE, PETAL takes its name from two places; Ngāi Tahu whakapapa as recorded by Matiaha Tiramōrehu in 1849 and from my father, Jonathan Harrington.
Like my tupuna and namesake, Ema Turumeke, Matiaha Tiramōrehu following attacks from Te Rauparaha and Ngāti Toa moved south from Kaiapoi to Moeraki where after the death of his father, Karaki, in about 1833 he became chief until his death in 1881 . Ema too is buried in Moeraki.
In this particular Tahu whakapapa stages of Te Pō are followed by stages of Te Ao then stages of Te Kore. Of these realms of potential, Te Koretētāmaua, the unstable void, is described by Māori and indigenous lecturer Kommi Tamati-Elliffe as one that’s clinging to a form but letting it go - about to let itself rip loose, to expand into other forms of being.
As a person I have for all my life suffered a tendency to, ah, be a bit anxious. Not a particularly special or useful character trait but persistent nonetheless. My dad would say to me ‘settle, petal’, which in hindsight I take to kindly mean ‘hey, I love you, it’s all good, now chill the f**k out’. I called him, he does mean it like this*, and then I wondered to him that I hadn’t heard anyone else use it before to which he said something like ‘I definitely didn’t come up with it’.
I tend towards ‘calm your farm’ and only because it rhymes. Unlike ‘settle petal’ I don’t think it is deemed derogatory though perhaps equally at risk of coming across as condescending. And at times ‘calm’ might best be viewed from afar while driving at 100km an hour, as you might drive past a farm. But what has this to do with whakapapa?
Whakapapa is the anchor and the rock upon which we can tether ourselves to in the storms of confusion that may come during times of crisis. [^]
Kia māoriori. Be at ease. You know who you are, and even if you can’t name all or any of your tīpuna, they are there-you are evidence of that.
E kore au e ngaro – he kaakano i ruia mai i Rangiaatea.
I shall never be lost – a seed scattered from Rangiaatea.
Your father, who did use ‘settle petal’ when panic looked like it was ensuing, says of this exhibition, “My only question is, am I Clarice?”
Image: Turumeke Harrington, Slump, (2018) courtesy of the artist.
Turumeke Harrington is a Ngāi Tahu artist living in Wellington. She has a background in industrial design (Victoria,2011), shoemaking (RMIT, 2013), fine arts (Ilam, 2018) and is currently completing an MFA at Massey.
Working across sculpture and installation, Turumeke’s work is characterised by bold colours and references to domestic forms and materials. Sitting somewhere between art and design she is currently interested in exploring how objects, material and colour can express, challenge and pursue mātauranga Māori through their composition. Inspired to make work that is generous to its audience while occasionally tripping them up, a lot of consideration is given to making art accessible both physically and conceptually.