Paora Toi-Te-Rangiuaia

Barry’s Catch, 2016

cast aluminium, steel and wood
3 parts each comprising 7 panels, 800 x 420 x 28 mm each

The Mangopare kowhaiwhai/Hammerhead Shark design is a repetitive curvilinear pattern that represents genealogical lines.

Oil collected from sharks livers were mixed with ochre to convey painted patterns upon the Māori art world, from wharenui, hoe paddles and hue gourds to Ta Moko.

Barry’s Catch is a sculptural depiction of the traditional harvesting of sharks by Hauraki tribes during the months of January-February. From several hundreds to several thousands the sharks were caught and dried upon long racks. An 1850 Charles Heaphy painting of the Hauraki Gulf captures such a scene with Rangitoto as the backdrop. My own personal experience stems from a visit in 1996 to local Piritahi marae elder Barry Haupokia’s Onetangi home where Hammerheads were suspended from his tree.

The Tui birds atop the vertical posts reference marae orators recounting genealogical histories. The term “Tui, Tui, Tuia” refers to the joining of lineages. The sculptural aspect of this traditionally painted motif echoes Heaphy’s painting, locating the observer in the historical narrative.

– Paora Toi-Te-Rangiuaia

Paora Toi-Te-Rangiuaia

born 1961, East Coast Aotearoa
Lives and works on Waiheke Island
Ko Hikurangi te Maunga, Ko Waiapu te Awa, Ko Ngāti Porou te Iwi

Paora Toi-Te-Rangiuaia trained as a jeweller and silversmith. On moving to Waiheke in 1990 he joined Piritahi marae and the formation of Waiheke’s first Maori arts initiative, Rongomauri Arts Collective. His practice of tatai toi follows in the footsteps of his Tipuna utilising tohu (symbols) to overlay a Māori paradigm on current narratives thus preserving and informing the community of environment and identity.

His jewellery and larger sculptural works of bronze, aluminum, granites, marble, basalt, limestone, wood and glass are exhibited at his Waiheke gallery ‘Paora’. Located in France, his largest work, a 10 x 5 metre hard limestone sculpture carved by hand, pays homage to his 19th century grandfather Riwai Pakerau, Tohunga whakairo and Kowhaiwhai painter of Ngāti Porou. Paora has recently completed kowhaiwhai and carvings at the Piritahi Marae wharenui ‘Kia Piritahi’.