Cecelia Kumeroa, Invasion
Reclamation of our space is my focus at the moment. That means working hard to assert our Whanganuitanga in terms of arts & design into the fabric of our everyday lives and normalising it, in our Council buildings, on our main street, in our parks and public spaces. Our iwi leaders have been leading the charge for many years maintaining and asserting our Whanganuitanga. The ‘H’ is now back in Whanganui. It’s almost the 25th celebration of Pakaitore. Now we begin to assert ourselves into the public arts realm- in public spaces. We are everywhere and yet nowhere in the architecture of the pride of our city- our heritage buildings. I once remarked to my father-in-law that the architecture was beautiful. He responded that it was all ‘a reminder of our colonisation’. I look at Pukenamu (Queen’s Park) & Patupo, Taumata Aute, Taumata Karoro etc. – I think of the historic battles our tupuna fought to hold this ground, this whenua. I want to see ourselves reflected in these spaces. An ‘indigenisation’ of these places with pervasive mana whenua design.
Being WOKE is also being haunted by the fact that many of our own whanau are the hidden homeless on the lands that are ours & yet were taken by fraudulent means. It’s working hard through adversity, working on your own whanau, praying we all stay safe in the face of all manners of social pressures.
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