Ioane Ioane, Te Kura Nui from Nine heavens, 2022
Nikau palm sheaths, dry broad windmill palm, totara, harakeke, corten steel, plastic drainpipe tube, couplers 5000 x 3000mm.
The moa is a charismatic personality within Aotearoa’s natural history for many and Ioane Ioane is among those whose imagination it continues to capture. In Ioane’s case by the deep-time story of nature’s interconnectedness and transience that the ancient taonga embodies.
Using tōtara, harakeke and nikau palm sheaths, Ioane has fashioned a tactile sculptural interpretation of the moa, referring to its te reo Māori name, ‘Te Kura Nui,’ which translates as the many red feathers. These organic materials will disintegrate and shed slightly during installation, enacting the whakataukī: ‘All leaves return to their roots when they fall.’
Thinking of this whakataukī, Ioane reflects on how we remain connected to extinct creatures and beings like the moa and to lands we may no longer live in.
“As a Samoan,” he writes, “the moa symbolises for me not a loss but a celebration of the core softness of home and the thin veil separating Hawaiki and the living.”