Dig in to the culture
PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls New Zealand Expedition officially began when guest artists met up for a Powhiri ceremony to welcome them to the City of Napier. A Powhiri is the ritual ceremony of encounter and traditionally the process served to discover whether the visiting party were friend or foe, and so its origins lay partly in military necessity.
As the ceremony progressed, and after friendly intent was established, it became a formal welcoming of guests manuhiri (guests) by the tangata whenua (hosts, or home people). As the Powhiri ceremony progresses, the tapu (sacredness) surrounding manuhiri is removed and they become one with the tangata whenua.
This was a beautiful opportunity to dig into the culture of New Zealand and immerse the artists into the historical Maori traditions.
A day after the ceremony, PangeaSeed Sea Walls artists and Aotearoa natives visited the breathtaking Te Matau A Maui, a traditional Māori navigational vessel. This open ocean boat excursion allowed visiting artists to learn about traditional navigation techniques and experience an epic educational ocean tour around Hawke’s Bay.
The day ended with an excursion to Otatara Pa to see significant landmarks and listen to the local history from a traditional Māori viewpoint. The specific area is home to the original Māori inhabitants of the area, the Mana Whenua (people of the land). This provided everyone with a perspective of where land meets sea and showcased a wide range of local flora and fauna.
Otatara Pa is a powerful place and of national significance, as it is linked to people and places throughout New Zealand’s history. Otatara Pa is an archaeological site, a historic reserve, a registered wahi tapu (a place sacred to Maori), and a registered historic place.
Finally, before the paint days began, PangeaSeed artists gathered at the Pukemokimoki Marae in Onekawa, Napier. A marae is a focal point of Māori communities throughout New Zealand, serving as communal or sacred haven for religious and social practices.
A big mahalo to all our hosts for teaching us about their powerful culture and traditions and its significance as a link to the people and places throughout New Zealand.
By Enriqueta Arias & Miya Tsukazaki