Anton Forde, Te Kotahitanga o Whakamaru / The Unity of Protection, 2022
Sustainably sourced Australian hardwood sleepers, ōnewa/basalt. 2700mm each.
Anton Forde’s fifty-five carved contemporary pou stand watch over the Hauraki Gulf in a kao kao/arrow formation upon the Mātiatia headland, visible from the ferry approaching Waiheke. Like a flock of migrating kuaka/godwit, or warriors awaiting in haka, this formation represents protection in standing together, and suggests a way forward in which one is guided by the ancestors of the past and the land itself.
The artist, drawing upon his knowledge and connections, offers this position as one we might assume while navigating the increasingly uncertain times of climate change, from which we might conceive of ourselves as kaitiaki or guardians of the land rather than as its possessor.
His stately figures are at once a dominating and sheltering presence on the exposed headland. Walking among them, we might take measure of our smallness in relation to the majesty of nature, of time, and of the many generations of people to have come before and who will come after.