Kauri Hawkins Kauri Pou Whenua, 2019
Kauri and paint 170 x 170 x 2500 mm.
Kauri Hawkins pou whenua represents the plight of the kauri tree in the Auckland region, using Waiheke Island as a backdrop – one of the last places kauri dieback has not reached.
Carved from kauri, the pou whenua reproduces a wooden street sign post. Haehae lines are carved into the wood to replicate bulldozer tread and allude to Māori carving conventions, indicative of construction and colonialism. Doubled-sided signs carry the words Ka Uri, Kauri, Cowrie and Cody. This is a breakdown of the meaning of Kauri (Ka Uri) and how it is regularly mispronounced.
Kauri Pou Whenua is a political comment on the status of kauri within two spaces. For Māori living in the Auckland region this rakau (tree) represents ancestral links to space and time through whakapapa, a taonga of upmost importance. For settlers, this tree was once seen as a resource to assist in the making of a new colony which has now become endangered in the eyes of the public 200 years later.
Born Palmerston North. Lives and works in Wellington.
Kauri Hawkins (Ngai Tamanuhiri , Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata whakapapa) recently graduated from Massey University with a BFA (Hons). Hawkins creates works using found objects and re- purposes these objects within cultural narratives.
Hawkins has shown in Wellington galleries and in Hobart, Tasmania in the inaugural Hobienale. He works with materials as diverse as road signs, basketball jerseys, cigarettes and hi-viz, challenging these objects’ cultural significance as a means or self-reflection and expression. In his art practice Kauri is at different times a sculptor, painter, film maker and performance artist whose work comments on contemporary New Zealand issues as seen through a Māori lens. In 2019 Hawkins commences a MFA at Massey University Wellington. Represented by PaulNache Gallery, Gisborne. www.paulnache.com