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Ki te kapu o takau ringa - In the Hollow of my Hand: Wānanga based Photographic Approaches to Place Representation

Ka matakitaki iho au ki te riu o Waikato Ano nei hei kapo kau ake maaku;  Ki te kapu o taku ringa,  “I look down on the valley of Waikato,  As though to hold it   In the hollow of my hand. The words above are from Māori King Tawhiao’s maioha (song poem), a representation of his love for his homelands of the Waikato and the region known today as the King Country. Now imagine a large-scale photograph: a close-up of cupped hands, holding an object carefully. The phrase above informs Professor Tom Roa and Dr. Rodrigo Hill’s current research project titled ‘Te Nehenehenui - The Ancient Enduring Beauty in the Great Forest of the King Country’. With this project still in its early stages the research team will present early and ongoing creative practice developments, discussions and ideas about photography practice, wānanga, and place representation. The project promotes the use of wānanga (forums and meetings of focus groups through which knowledge - mātauranga - is discussed and passed on) and other reflective practices, engaging with and led by mana whenua (guardians of the land) providing a thread which will guide the construction of the photographic images. The research fuses wānanga, that is Mātauranga Māori (Māori Knowledge), and photography practice in novel ways, aiming to move away and challenge core photographic conventions and Eurocentric modes of place representation. Roa and Hill understand wānanga as a fluid practice of engagement which can be with mana whenua or with the taiao - the environment - either by itself or with the mana whenua. This is the essence of Kaupapa Māori Research. 
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Library
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