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.