Te Wai o Te Kauri

by Charlotte Graham

The Kauri Project Poster Series (2014)
archival print, edition of 50
420 x 594 mm
unframed - $230
framed with white wooden frame - $420


My work depicts a variety of manu / birds, as they are the children of Tāne Mahuta (god of the forest). Kauri is the tuakana, the elder of all trees. Kauri gifts us waka, representing balance, and kauri gum represent tears or grief. Kauri bark nurtures other plants, nourishing and conditioning its own root systems. Native birds are scribed in colours pertaining to their natural cloak over the kauri ring - the blueprint to whakapapa. Like a chorus, these manu speak in both Maori and English.

Tiakina I te whenua (protect the land). 

Tiakina I te kauri (protect the kauri).

Kia whakatika ra (correct it now).

Kauri, love, education and more.

The manu speak of their habitat, our environment, asking us to focus on kauri and the disease kauri dieback, which is slowly killing our elder tree. They ask that we listen, learn and, like the song’s chorus, educate ourselves in how we can help stop the spreading of this disease when we enter into the forest.

Auckland-based, Charlotte Graham is of Scottish and Waikato descent - Ngati Mahuta, Ngai Tai, Ngati Tamaoho. From a generation of Māori artists who draw on their tribal heritage in order to explore critical issues affecting New Zealand society such as racism, indigeneity and land rights, her recent work explores notions of politics and healing. 

The Kauri Project Poster Series Contemporary artists and designers Charlotte Graham, Philip Kelly, Tessa Laird, Natalie Robertson and Haruhiko Sameshima have been commissioned to produce new works addressing the social, cultural and historical value of the kauri tree, one of our most beloved native species, in the face of the threat posed by kauri dieback disease.


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